Boeing's 1st astronaut flight to space delayed until July

In this photo provided by Boeing, technicians work on the Starliner spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 19, 2023, in preparation for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test. On Wednesday, March, 29, 2023, NASA said Boeing's debut launch of astronauts has been delayed again, this time until July, saying more time is needed to certify the rocket and capsule that will blast off with the two test pilots. (John Grant/Boeing via AP) (John Grant, Copyright 2023 The Boeing Company)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Boeing’s first launch of astronauts has been delayed again, this time until July.

NASA announced the latest postponement Wednesday, saying more time is needed to certify and test the Starliner capsule's parachute system before the spacecraft blasts off with two test pilots. Additional software testing is also underway.

Boeing already was running years behind schedule when it had to repeat its test flight without a crew to the International Space Station because of software and other problems. The first was in 2019 and the second in 2022.

“We know that what we’re doing is extremely important, launching humans in space," Boeing's Mark Nappi told reporters. "So we’ll take our time and we'll make sure that everybody is confident with the work that’s been done.”

Liftoff is currently targeted for no earlier than July 21 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Starliner capsule will ride atop United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket.

NASA hired Boeing and SpaceX a decade ago to ferry astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX launched its seventh NASA crew earlier this month.

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