Washington: The US space agency has replaced one of the astronauts assigned to fly on the first crewed test launch of a first-time Boeing capsule to take passengers to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA announced late Tuesday that astronaut Eric Boe will no longer fly on the mission owing to unspecified "medical reasons." NASA astronaut Mike Fincke has been added to the crew.
"He previously served as an International Space Station flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 9, and commanded the station on Expedition 18," said the space agency. This will be Fincke`s fourth trip to space since joining the astronaut corps in 1996.
Fincke will begin training immediately alongside NASA`s Nicole Mann and Boeing`s Chris Ferguson, who were both assigned to the mission in August 2018.
The Starliner`s Crew Flight Test will be the first time that the new spacecraft, which is being developed and built by Boeing as part of NASA`s Commercial Crew Programme, is launched into space with humans on board.
An uncrewed flight test of the Starliner will test the spacecraft`s critical systems prior to Fincke, Ferguson and Manna`s launch, said NASA.