Boeing includes additional costs for Starliner astronaut capsule, pushing cost overruns to nearly $700 million

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Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is seen before docking at the International Space Station on May 20, 2022 during the OFT-2 unmanned mission.

NASA

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

The space giant said the latest payload was “mainly caused by launch manifest updates and additional costs associated with OFT-2,” or Orbital Flight Test 2. Starliner’s second unmanned flight successfully completed a six-day mission in May, a critical test target – docking with the International Space Station – as Boeing prepares for the capsule to carry astronauts.

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Boeing’s latest Starliner-related indictment means the company has absorbed $688 million in costs so far due to delays and additional work on the capsule.

The company developed its Starliner spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew program and has won 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 manned spaceflight for NASA.

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Boeing was once seen as 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, with the first astronauts flying aboard the capsule. However, Boeing is investigating whether 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, should be redesigned.

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