Boeing Starliner astronaut capsule costs nearly $700 million


Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is seen prior to its docking with the International Space Station on May 20, 2022 during the OFT-2 uncrewed mission.

Nasa

Boeing disclosed a $93 million charge in the second quarter for its Starliner astronaut capsule program, bringing the program’s overrun costs to nearly $700 million.

The aerospace giant said the latest charge was “primarily driven by launch manifest updates and additional costs associated with OFT-2,” or Orbital Flight Test 2. Starliner’s second uncrewed flight has Successfully completed a six-day mission in May, meeting a critical test goal – docking with the International Space Station – as Boeing prepares for the capsule to transport the astronauts.

Boeing’s latest Starliner-related charges mean the company has absorbed $688 million in costs related to delays and additional work on the capsule to date.

The company developed its Starliner spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew program after winning nearly $5 billion in contracts to build the capsule. Boeing’s program competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has completed development of its Crew Dragon spacecraft and is now on its fourth operational human spaceflight for NASA.

Boeing was once seen as an equal to SpaceX in the race to launch NASA astronauts, but fell behind due to development setbacks.

The next Starliner mission is expected to be the Crew Flight Test, or CFT, flying the first astronauts aboard the capsule. However, Boeing is considering whether to redesign the Aerojet Rocketdyne-made propulsion valves on Starliner, which malfunctioned during the company’s first attempt to launch the OFT-2 mission in August 2021.


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