February 21, 2019

NASA replaces astronaut on Boeing’s 1st crew launch | Lexington Herald Leader

25 January 2019, 08:51 | Dale Webster

Astronaut Eric Boe seen here in a space shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center. NASA

Astronaut Eric Boe seen here in a space shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center.             

Fincke has been part of NASA's astronaut corps since 1996.

NASA has announced a crew change for Boeing Starliner's first crewed flight, assigning veteran astronaut Mike Fincke to the flight after Eric Boe was pulled for medical reasons. He previously served as an International Space Station flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 9, and commanded the station on Expedition 18.

Boeing's initial unpiloted test flight is expected in late March or early April with Ferguson, Mann and Fincke taking off on the spacecraft's first crewed test flight in August or September.

NASA is replacing one of the astronauts from the first crewed test launch of the CST-100 Starliner, a capsule being developed by Boeing to take passengers to the worldwide space station.

In its statement, NASA said only that Boe would no longer be able to fly on the Starliner test flight "due to medical reasons".

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke tests the Orion spaceship exit procedure at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. He flew on two long-duration missions to the International Space Station on Soyuz spacecraft in 2004 and 2008-2009, as well as the final flight of the shuttle Endeavour, STS-134, in 2011. During this flight, Fincke and his three ISS crewmembers welcomed STS-126/Endeavour and Eric Boe to the Station and also oversaw delivery of the final set of Solar Arrays for the Station on STS-119/Discovery.

If successful, Boeing's Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, reportedly due to make its first launch - unmanned - on February 9, will mark the first time in history NASA has sent astronauts to space on systems "owned, built, tested and operated by private companies". To date, the Pennsylvania native has spent 382 days in space and performed nine space walks. Boe and three different NASA astronauts were chosen in 2015 as the primary industrial crew members.

This will be Fincke's fourth trip to space. Assuming the tests go as planned, SpaceX and Boeing would proceed with regular space taxi flights to and from the station.

Fincke has amassed a total of 381 days 15 hours 11 minutes in space and has 48 hours 37 minutes of spacewalk experience to his name.

Now available schedules from NASA show this mission launching No Earlier Than (NET) August 2019 - though it is expected to slip deeper into 2019.

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