Yes, Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft really could fly astronauts this year

Enlarge / Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission launches on May 19, 2022. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

Five weeks have passed since Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft returned from a largely successful test flight to the International Space Station, and the company continues to review data from the mission alongside engineers from NASA.

So far, there have been no showstoppers. In fact, sources say, the relatively clean performance of Starliner has increased the possibility that the vehicle could make its first crewed flight this year in December.

This mission, called the Crew Flight Test, will likely carry two astronauts to the space station. If successful, it would clear the way for long-duration, operational missions to the space station in 2023 and give NASA a much-coveted second means of getting astronauts into space.

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