Boeing Starliner Delayed Til at Least April 2023

Boeing human crewed Starliner mission has been delayed from February to April 2023 or later.

There continue to be technical problems and there are now new concerns about the parachutes.

The continuing problems raise concerns that any human crew should be risked flying in Starliner.

Due to delays and technical problems, Boeing has taken a number of charges against earnings for the Starliner program by 2022. This includes $410 million in 2020, $185 million in October 2021, and $288 million through the third quarter of 2022

SpaceX’s CCtCap contract values each seat on a Crew Dragon flight to be between US$60–67 million, while the face value of each seat has been estimated by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to be around US$55 million. This contrasts with the 2014 Soyuz launch price of US$76 million per seat for NASA astronauts.

SpaceX has one crewed test flight in 2020 and is on the seventh human operational mission with Crew Dragon. SpaceX will have five human-crewed missions in 2023.

SpaceX Crew Dragon is operating safely and is more affordable than Starliner.

13 thoughts on “Boeing Starliner Delayed Til at Least April 2023”

  1. Our tax dollars at work.

    When Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court get too full of themselves (which seems to be all three of them, simultaneously, in recent times), then it’s time to amend the Constitution.

    Unfortunately, the process of by which this is done is a fantasy for anything that might actually change anything. Virtually no one in Congress wants one, and they know how to block them (it’s not hard at all).

    Yes, it should be very difficult to call a Constitutional Convention, but in the interests of expediency, the founding fathers agreed to make it virtually impossible, or at least vastly unlikely.

    George Washington, in his Farewell Address, spoke directly to the fact that abuses and exploits would occasionally make it necessary to make adjustments to the Constitution. He also stressed the importance of doing it the right way.

  2. Just to point out that without SpaceX Crew Dragon, the American human space program would have been dead for 11 years already, putting the USA in the embarrassing position of having to ask Russia for rides to the ISS.

    Joking about Starliner being a joke is no longer funny, for me at least.

    • Pretty sure Starship will fly before Starliner. Beginning to think crewed Starship will fly before Starliner.

      • Yep. Starliner will finally be ready about the time SpaceX is starting to wind down it’s Dragon program toward retirement. They’ve already finished the last Dragon they’ll need to build, will fly them for two Polaris missions and some other Commercial missions besides NASA/ISS contract – but by the end of 2023 will start flying crewed Starship.

      • It should, but Space X has seen regulatory barriers unexpectedly raised, giving competitors time to catch up. I’m sure that Boeing having more places it can stick an ex-NASA bureaucrat in a comfy post-retirement gig is merely coincidental. Hope it’s pre-coffee cynicism rather than an accurate prediction.

        • Your concerns are accurate, but even our politicized DOD is frightened at the prospect of having to rely on Boeing for access to space, so they can only buy so much interference.

          Political retaliation against Musk for reducing Twitter censorship is a more pressing concern, since those motives for attacking SpaceX won’t be appreciably moderated by the national interest.

        • For the past several months it’s turned out that the only thing keeping Starship from flying has been engineering challenges both on the ground and on the rocket. (They’re trying to figure out a way around the miscibility of LOX and LCH4, in a nutshell. The two like to mix and become explosive.)

          So it’s Stage0 first, then yet more careful, methodical testing, then a launch. Regulatory issues are the least of SpaceX’s problems. Does anyone remember the imminent construction of an offshore launch platform and its associated tunnel?

          But when Starship does fly, Dragon will still be the only human-rated carrier for ISS from SpaceX, and there’s a very good chance more Dragons will be manufactured.

          • “They’re trying to figure out a way around the miscibility of LOX and LCH4, in a nutshell. The two like to mix and become explosive.”

            I do seem to recall, vaguely, somebody who tried to mix the two to use as a mono-propellant; The rocket spontaneously exploded before they could attempt a launch.

            But, how are they getting mixed here, prior to ignition?

            • This is likely a reference to the unintended explosion which happened on that spin prime test. I don’t think the engineering challenges are necessary for the orbital flight, but for rapid reusability, which is a step two. If it was just trying to get to orbit, they could have done that years ago. Stack the second stage with a crane, and it’s off to the races.

              • The problem with the spin prime test wasn’t inter-miscibility. They accumulated a fuel/air/lox bomb under the rocket because they were dumping the propellant uncombusted, and neither had enough air flow to flush it, nor a sparker system to ignite it.

                In normal operation they wouldn’t be doing that, and I expect they’ve already installed a sparker system, I was shocked they hadn’t just as a matter of course.

    • Yep, Starliner’s problems are no joke. We need Starliner to fly ASAP. It would be nice if it turned out to be a financial success for Boeing, as well, because right now Boeing’s scheduled to fly just six Starliner missions. At that point ULA will have used the last Atlas.

      • Starliner is already a financial success for Boeing due to how NASA paid for it. Starliner will maximize Boeing’s profits with the minimum number of launches (zero).

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