NASA Astronauts Complete Key Boeing Mission Simulation

NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore emerge from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, as part of an integrated crew exercise simulation for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT). Photo credit: NASA/Isaac Watson

NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore successfully completed an integrated crew exercise simulation that moves Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft one step closer to its first flight with astronauts to the International Space Station.

Targeted for launch no earlier than mid-April 2024, NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) will fly Williams and Wilmore to the orbiting laboratory for about up to two weeks. They will evaluate Starliner and its systems before returning to Earth in the Western United States. Liftoff will be aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Completing the simulation Wednesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida marks another milestone toward CFT launch. The integrated exercise involved participation from the flight crew, NASA, Boeing, and ULA, and allowed teams to rehearse prelaunch operations beginning roughly four hours before a targeted liftoff. The exercise began with Wilmore and Williams walking through suit-up procedures inside the Astronaut Crew Quarters in NASA Kennedy’s Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building.

Following this, they took an elevator down to the ground floor and exited the same double doors they will on launch day where their crew transportation vehicle was waiting to transport them to the launch pad. The crew and support teams then convoyed to the launch pad, where Williams and Wilmore supported operations from the white room – an area at the end of the launch tower’s crew access arm that will provide access to the spacecraft. The remainder of the rehearsal involved the crew traveling back to NASA Kennedy to support from Boeing’s Mission Control Center.

Over the next several weeks, teams will run through additional simulations focused on each phase of the mission. Some upcoming milestones include CFT certification, fueling Starliner with propellants, and stacking Starliner on the Atlas V rocket before rolling out to the launch pad in preparation for liftoff.

Starliner completed two uncrewed flight tests: Orbital Flight Test-2, which launched from Cape Canaveral and completed its space station mission in May 2022, and Orbital Flight Test-1, which provided teams with additional flight data in December 2019. During these two uncrewed missions, the end-to-end capabilities of the spacecraft were successfully tested.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program by following the commercial crew blog, X, and Facebook.

NASA, Boeing Move into Next Phases of Flight Test Prep

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner crew ship is pictured docked to the Harmony module's forward port on the International Space Station as the orbitng complex flew 261 miles above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexican state of Nayarit. Photo credit: NASA
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew ship is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward port on the International Space Station as the orbitng complex flew 261 miles above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexican state of Nayarit. Photo credit: NASA

NASA and Boeing teams are preparing for a flight test no earlier than mid-April in which the Starliner spacecraft will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Teams have made significant progress in resolving technical issues identified during the agency’s flight certification process. Following a successful drop test earlier this month in which recent modifications to Starliner’s parachute system were validated, NASA and Boeing are working to perform final analysis of the test data and complete overall system certification ahead of Starliner’s first crewed flight. This standard NASA process is designed to independently verify Starliner’s parachute system meets crew safety requirements and is expected to continue over the next six to eight weeks.

Meanwhile, Boeing completed removal of P213 tape that may have posed a flammability risk in certain environmental conditions. Boeing removed more than 17 pounds, or roughly 4,300 feet, of the material from the Starliner crew module. For areas in which removal of the tape carried an increased risk to Starliner hardware, Boeing applied tested remediation techniques such as overwrapping the P213 tape with another non-flammable, chafe-resistant tape, and installing fire breaks on wire harnesses. The agency worked to clarify the properties and safe usage guidance relative to P213 tape in the NASA Materials Usage Agreements database to prevent a similar misapplication from occurring across industry in the future.

Additionally, major integrated flight operations exercises are underway. Mission support teams recently completed a two-day undock to landing mission dress rehearsal with recovery personnel on the ground at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Teams simulated Crew Flight Test procedures and spacecraft sequences starting with pre-undock powerup and continuing through undock, entry, landing, and crew recovery. The exercise provided an additional training opportunity for NASA and Boeing to practice Starliner’s return to Earth in a high-fidelity environment before the flight.

Teams from ULA (United Launch Alliance) are preparing the Atlas V rocket hardware for processing and spacecraft integration. Boeing is targeting completion of Starliner assembly at the end of January. The upgraded parachutes were delivered and installed on the spacecraft, along with Starliner’s forward heat shield and ascent cover. Prior to fueling operations, following final installation of thermal protection system blankets and internal closeout work, Boeing will begin flowing a nitrogen purge into the Starliner’s service module to ensure ambient moisture does not permeate into the propulsion isolation or active thermal control system valves. In the weeks ahead, NASA and Boeing will work to identify any remaining work before loading Starliner propellant.

The next couple of months teams will:

  • work to complete overall Crew Flight Test certification;
  • put the finishing touches on the Starliner spacecraft, which is already joined to its service module;
  • run simulations of operational conditions to rehearse every phase of the mission with the crew, flight controllers, and ground operations teams;
  • fuel the spacecraft with propellants for its onboard thrusters for in-space maneuvering;
  • stack the ULA Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft before rolling them to the pad at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida;
  • and work through detailed systems reviews, culminating with a flight readiness review in the days before launch to verify the system and teams are ready.

Starliner’s Crew Flight Test will launch NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the orbiting laboratory for a stay of one to two weeks before returning them to a landing in the southwest United States. The mission will mirror the tasks of regular crew rotation flights for Boeing’s Starliner under contracts with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Follow the commercial crew blog or Crew Flight Test mission blog for the latest information on Starliner’s progress toward launch. Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, X, and Facebook.

Mission Specialist Assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 Mission

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk joins NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Scott Tingle as part of NASA’s Boeing Starlier-1 mission crew. Photo credit: NASA

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.

For more insight on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program missions to the orbiting laboratory, follow the commercial crew blog. More details can be found @commercial_crew on X and commercial crew on Facebook.

Progress Continues Toward NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to Station

The crew module and new service module for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test at Kennedy Space Center.
Inside Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 19, 2023, the Starliner team works to finalize the mate of the crew module and new service module for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test that will take NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to and from the International Space Station. Photo credit: Boeing/John Grant

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.

Follow NASA’s commercial crew blog or CFT mission blog for the latest information on progress. Details about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 Astronauts Touch Down at Florida Spaceport

NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 crew members arrive at Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will launch aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff is targeted for 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

The crew that will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission arrived Sunday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff.

Crew members 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, landed via Gulfstream jet aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The flight crew will be greeted at arrival by leaders from NASA, JAXA, and ESA.

A media event is scheduled about 12:15 p.m. EDT with the following participants:

  • Bill Nelson, administrator, NASA
  • Bob Cabana, associate administrator, NASA
  • Janet Petro, director, NASA Kennedy
  • Dana Hutcherson, deputy manager, Commercial Crew Program
  • Eric van der Wal, lead, International Space Station Program Houston Office, ESA
  • Junichi Sakai, program manager, International Space Station, JAXA
  • NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, spacecraft commander
  • ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot
  • JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, mission specialist
  • Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, mission specialist

The event is scheduled to broadcast live, if weather permits, on NASA Television and the agency’s website. No teleconference option is available for this event.

Crew members are scheduled to lift off at 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carried by a Falcon 9 rocket for a full duration mission to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

This is the seventh crew rotation flight and the eighth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for CCP. Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-7 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA, SpaceX Reset Crew-7 Launch to Friday, Aug. 25

NASA's SpaceX Crew-7 crew members in their spacesuits
Crew-7 astronauts pose in front of their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft recently at the company’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters. The mission to the International Space Station is targeted for launch on Aug. 25 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

The target launch date for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station now is 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25. Additional time was required for teams to complete pad readiness after SpaceX’s recent Falcon Heavy mission lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The adjustment also takes advantage of consecutive launch opportunities and deconflicts the station’s cargo spacecraft traffic schedule.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard the company’s Dragon spacecraft.

Crew-7 is scheduled to dock to the orbiting laboratory about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. If needed, Crew-7 has additional launch opportunities on Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27.

Follow NASA’s commercial crew blog for the latest information on Crew-7 flight readiness.

Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Mission Specialist Assigned to NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 Mission

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa was named a mission specialist for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has been selected as a mission specialist for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission – the agency’s seventh rotational mission to the International Space Station.

Furukawa joins NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. An additional crew member will be assigned at a later date.

Furukawa spent 165 days aboard the orbiting laboratory in 2011 as a flight engineer with Expeditions 28 and 29. As part of his duties, he helped support the final space shuttle mission, STS-135.

This will be the first spaceflight for Moghbeli, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017, and the first long-duration mission for Mogensen. He previously served as a flight engineer on a 10-day mission to the space station in 2015. Crew-7 will be his second trip to space.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than mid-August for the launch of Crew-7, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The four astronauts will join an expedition crew aboard the space station.

For more insight on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program missions to the orbiting laboratory, follow the commercial crew blog. More details can be found @commercial_crew on Twitter and commercial crew on Facebook.

Expedition 68 Welcomes Crew-6 Members Aboard Station

The four SpaceX Crew-6 members joined the seven Expedition 68 crew members aboard the space station expanding its population to 11. Credit: NASA TV
The four SpaceX Crew-6 members joined the seven Expedition 68 crew members aboard the space station expanding its population to 11. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts, Mission Commander Stephen Bowen and Pilot Woody Hoburg, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev aboard the SpaceX Dragon, named Endeavour, have arrived at the International Space Station.

Crew-6 joins the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, and Josh Cassada, as well as Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Anna Kikina.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and the pressurized mating adapter at 3:45 a.m. EST then opened the hatch to Dragon.


More details about the Crew-6 mission can be found by following the Crew-6 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videupdate/

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SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Docks to Station’s Harmony Module

The four SpaceX Crew-6 members (from left) Andrey Fedyaev, Woody Hoburg, Stephen Bowen, and Sultan Alnedayi, are pictured inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour prior to launching.
The four SpaceX Crew-6 members (from left) Andrey Fedyaev, Woody Hoburg, Stephen Bowen, and Sultan Alnedayi, are pictured inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour prior to launching.

NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, as the SpaceX Dragon, named Endeavour, docked to the complex at 1:40 a.m. EST while the station was 260 statute miles over the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Somalia.

Docking was delayed slightly as mission teams completed troubleshooting of a faulty docking hook sensor on Dragon. The NASA and SpaceX teams verified that all of the docking hooks were in the proper configuration, and SpaceX developed a software override for the faulty sensor that allowed the docking process to successfully continue.

Following Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Dragon and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 3:18 a.m.

Crew-6 will join the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, and Josh Cassada, as well as Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Anna Kikina. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-5 departs.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission.


More details about the Crew-6 mission can be found by following the Crew-6 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Approaching Station for Docking

From left, are SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Specialist Andrey Fedyaev, Commander Stephen Bowen, Pilot Warren "Woody" Hoburg, and Mission Specialist Sultan Alneyadi. Credit: SpaceX
From left, are SpaceX Crew-6 Commander Stephen Bowen, Pilot Warren “Woody” Hoburg, and Mission Specialists Sultan Alneyadi and Andrey Fedyaev,. Credit: SpaceX

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission carrying NASA astronauts, Mission Commander Stephen Bowen and Pilot Woody Hoburg, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev on their way to the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, began the final phase of its approach to the station at 12:15 a.m. EST on Friday, March 3, and is scheduled to dock at 12:43 a.m. Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew aboard the spacecraft and the space station will monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.

When the hatches open about 2:21 a.m. the Crew-6 astronauts will join the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, and Josh Cassada, as well as Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Anna Kikina. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-5 departs.


More details about the Crew-6 mission can be found by following the Crew-6 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe