CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Joshua Kutryk has been selected as a mission specialist for NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission – the first crew rotation flight for the spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Kutryk joins Scott Tingle and Mike Fincke of NASA, who will serve as the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission. Both astronauts have previously flown as crew members aboard the space station. This will be Kutryk’s first spaceflight. The final crew assignment for Starliner-1 will be announced following review and approval by the agency and its international partners.
Starliner-1 will launch following the successful completion of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, which aims to demonstrate Starliner’s ability to achieve NASA certification and safely fly regular crewed missions to space station. Kutryk is the capsule communicator for ascent and re-entry of the CFT mission, relaying communication from Mission Control at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the astronauts aboard the spacecraft.
NASA and Boeing are targeting the Starliner-1 launch no earlier than the beginning of 2025 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The four astronauts will join an expedition crew aboard the space station.
NASA and Boeing are working to complete the agency’s verification and validation activities ahead of Starliner’s first flight with astronauts to the International Space Station. While Boeing is targeting March to have the spacecraft ready for flight, teams decided during a launch manifest evaluation that a launch in April will better accommodate upcoming crew rotations and cargo resupply missions this spring.
Once the spacecraft meets the agency’s safety requirements, NASA’s Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) will see astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams perform the first crewed mission of the spacecraft designed to take astronauts to and from the orbital laboratory.
Ahead of CFT, Boeing has completed P213 tape removal in the upper dome of the Starliner crew compartment and work is underway to remove or remediate the tape in the lower dome of the spacecraft. These hardware remediation efforts inside the Starliner production facility at NASA Kennedy are expected to be completed during the next several weeks. After the P213 tape remediation efforts conclude, engineers will conduct final assessments to ensure acceptable risk of any remaining tape.
A set of parachutes is on track to be delivered and installed on the CFT spacecraft by the end of this year to support the current target launch date. Separately, the team also is planning a drop test of Starliner’s updated drogue and main parachutes. The parachutes will incorporate a planned strengthening of main canopy suspension lines and the recent design of the drogue and main parachute soft-link joints, which will increase the safety factor for the system. The drop test is planned for early 2024 based on the current parachute delivery schedule.
Boeing and NASA also are planning modifications to the active thermal control system valves to improve long-term functionality following a radiator bypass valve issue discovered during ground operations earlier this year. As discussed during a Starliner media teleconference in June, teams have modified the spacecraft hardware and identified forward work to prevent a similar issue in the future. Options include a system purge to prevent stiction, component upgrades and operational mitigations.
Additionally, about 98% of the certification products required for the flight test are complete, and NASA and Boeing anticipate closure on remaining CFT certification products early next year. Meanwhile, NASA and Boeing have made significant progress on requirement closures related to manual crew control of the spacecraft and abort system analysis.
The latest version of Starliner’s CFT flight software completed qualification testing and is undergoing standard hardware and software integration testing inside Boeing’s Avionics and Software Integration Lab. Starliner’s crew and service modules remain mated and await continuation of standard preflight processing.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket also is in Florida at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station awaiting integration with the spacecraft.
The NASA astronauts who will fly aboard CFT continue to train for their roughly eight-day mission to the orbiting laboratory, which includes working with operations and mission support teams to participate in various simulations across all phases of flight.
Starliner completed two uncrewed flight tests, including Orbital Flight Test-2, which docked to the space station on May 21, 2022, following a launch two days prior from Kennedy. The spacecraft remained docked to space station for four days before successfully landing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the orbiting laboratory is targeted to launch no earlier than mid-February. The mission will carry NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; and mission specialist Jeanette Epps, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut mission specialist Alexander Grebenkin to the space station to conduct a wide range of operational and research activities. Routine maintenance and processing of the Crew-8 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is in work. This will be the first spaceflight for Dominick, Epps, and Grebenkin, and the third for Barratt. Crew-8 is expected to return to Earth in late August 2024, following a short handover with the agency’s Crew-9 mission.
Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT)
The first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft, named NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), is planned for no earlier than mid-April. CFT will send NASA astronauts and test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams on a demonstration flight to prove the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system. Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, spend approximately eight days docked to the space station, and return to Earth with a parachute and airbag-assisted ground landing in the desert of the western United States.
NASA will provide an updated status of CFT readiness as more information becomes available.
Looking further ahead in 2024, NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than mid-August for the launch of the agency’s Crew-9, SpaceX’s ninth crew rotation mission to the space station for NASA. A crew of four will be announced at a later date.
10th Crew Rotation Mission
The 10th commercial crew rotation opportunity to the space station is targeted for early 2025. NASA is planning for either SpaceX’s Crew-10 or Boeing’s Starliner-1 mission in this slot. The Starliner-1 date was adjusted to allow for the post-flight review of the Crew Flight Test and incorporation of anticipated learning, approvals of final certification products, and completion of readiness and certification reviews ahead of that mission.
NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev splashed down safely in the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at 12:17 a.m. EDT after 186 days in space.
Teams on the SpaceX recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Dragon onto the main deck with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to board a plane for Houston.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev on their return to Earth after a nearly six-month science mission has completed its deorbit burn as expected ahead of splashdown at about 12:17 a.m. EDT in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
Four minutes before splashdown, the drogue parachutes will deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour, and less than a minute later, the main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while the spacecraft is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
NASA TV coverage available online and via the NASA app will continue until the crew is recovered from the spacecraft.
Watch the agency’s live coverage as NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev inside the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft work toward a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, at about 12:17 a.m. EDT. Recovery forces are taking positions in the recovery zone.
The deorbit burn is scheduled to begin at 11:24 p.m. EDT.
NASA and SpaceX met Friday evening to continue close evaluations of weather conditions around Florida’s coastline as they consider the best options for Crew-6 to return to Earth. Teams are working toward an undocking opportunity of no earlier than 7:05 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 3, with the first potential splashdown opportunity no earlier than 12:07 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. Teams are proceeding to the next weather briefing scheduled for Saturday morning to continue assessing weather for the primary target. Additional undock and splashdown opportunities are available early next week if weather conditions continue to be unfavorable over the weekend.
The Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, remains healthy while currently docked to the International Space Station. Dragon has been cleared for departure and re-entry by the space station and Dragon mission management teams. Pre-departure checkouts of the spacecraft were conducted Friday with normal performance across all systems. Operations teams are not working any major issues and there are currently no constraints to flight.
For the current undocking opportunity, NASA TV coverage can be found of the agency’s television schedule.
NASA and SpaceX are standing down from the Saturday, Sept. 2, departure opportunities for the agency’s Crew-6 mission from the International Space Station due to unfavorable weather conditions near the splashdown sites off the coast of Florida. The next available undocking opportunity is no earlier than 7:05 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 3, with a splashdown no earlier than 12:07 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 4, pending weather evaluations.
Mission teams will meet Friday evening to determine the viability of the next Crew-6 undock target. The Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, remains healthy while currently docked to the space station as Crew-6 prepares for their return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit.
Crew-6’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, weather, sea states, and other factors.
NASA will provide more information about live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-6 mission with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, as well as UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
NASA TV coverage for the Sept. 3 undocking and Sept. 4 splashdown opportunity, if it is chosen, will be:
Sunday, Sept. 3 (All times eastern and subject to change depending on operations)
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 crew members are settling into their new orbital home aboard the International Space Station while Crew-6 make their own preparations for a safe return to Earth in the coming days.
Crew-7 NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov moved into the space station on Aug. 27. The crew launched on Aug. 26 from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Meanwhile, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev are wrapping up crew handover activities with Crew-7 which involves concluding science experiments, and transferring return cargo to their Dragon spacecraft. Their spacecraft has been docked with the space station since arriving in March 2023.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting Saturday, Sept. 2, for Crew-6 and SpaceX’s Dragon to undock from the space station and safely splashdown off the coast of Florida on Sunday, Sept. 3. Joint teams are monitoring weather forecasts across seven potential splashdown sites off the coast of Florida and any impacts Hurricane Idalia may have on recovery operations.
The agency will share more information on Crew-6 return as it becomes available.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting 3:27 a.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 26, for launch of the agency’s Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station.
Mission managers met on Thursday to discuss the status toward final readiness for a Friday launch opportunity. After performing an extra data review, teams decided to take additional time to reconfirm required factors of safety and operational margin on one of the Dragon spacecraft’s environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) components. The new launch date provides teams additional time to complete the analysis and thoroughly review the necessary data ahead of launch. All ECLSS valves on the Crew-7 and Crew-6 Dragon spacecraft are performing normally, and performed as expected in all preflight testing. Safety continues to be the team’s top priority. The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft remain healthy as teams complete and discuss the final results of this additional analysis, and the crew is ready to fly when the entire team is ready.
The Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will launch atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:50 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27.