back to article Boeing abandons plans for crewed Starliner flight in 2023

Boeing has thrown in the towel on trying to launch Starliner to the International Space Station this year, and is now targeting the first half of 2024 for the calamity capsule's first crewed flight. This latest delay is due to continued fallout from issues identified in June, namely the flammability risk of some of the tape …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Remember kids

    Never let an MBA think they are an engineer.

    In other words, this is a management issue, not an engineering one.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Remember kids

      That's true, but it doesn't really matter. Boeing has become a conduit for taxpayer's money to find its way into the pockets of shareholders.

      If things get too bad there'll be a bailout.

    2. CowHorseFrog

      Re: Remember kids

      So why does America worship MBAs everywhere you go ?

      - Hollywood, check how many movies portray the great american hero as a CEO ?

      - Media, look at el Reg, just look at the percentages of how many names quoted here are ceos.

      - TV Again if a ceo said it - its like jesus and mohammad and god said it.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    A perk for Boeing board members

    Have at least one member as a passenger on each of the early flights.

    1. Gary Stewart

      Re: A perk for Boeing board members

      Naw, just stuff them all in a Starliner and shoot it on a trajectory to catch up with Starman.

  3. batt-geek

    Rather them than me

    astronauts are supposed to be made of "the right stuff", but i have to say i think anyone riding this tin can would need to be made of "the disposable stuff"

    1. Lurko

      Re: Rather them than me

      I was staggered to read "half of the flammable tape has been removed, and in some areas where it can't be pulled off it'll have to be covered in a protective coating"

      How can the tape not be pulled off, or failing that how can they not replace all relevant wiring? If true, sounds like far from being reusable, it's been carelessly engineered as single use firework, in the well evidenced US space tradition of complacency, short cuts, and dismissal of risk. You'd have thought the Americans would have learnt from the various Apollo and Shuttle accidents that every single detail counts, apparently not.

      You have to hope the Starliner software and controls are better than that of the 737 Max.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Rather them than me

        I was thinking along similar lines re the tape that can't be accessed to be removed. If a new/extra coating is good enough for the inaccessible tape, then why isn't that good enough for the entire job instead of taking the time to replace the accessible tape?

        It all sounds rather like a budge job with a side helping of porkies to me.

        1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

          Re: Rather them than me

          Any weight added to the capsule would reduce the payload capacity so replacing is better than adding. On the other hand the tape was probably not designed to be removed so removal could damage or stress whatever it is attached to so coating might be the only practical option. Also some taped items may not be directly accessible, so it is more practical to spray with fire retardant.

          In the end the flight risk will never be zero so there is always a risk vs cost trade-off. Still a project management disaster, hopefully that is all it is.

          1. Spherical Cow

            Re: Rather them than me

            Fortunately the second one will be built with suitable tape. Assuming there is a second one...

  4. Binraider Silver badge

    Well, would you board the lemon given its history?

    Apollo had the excuse of being the first time for all sorts of things. Boeing don’t get that luxury.

  5. s. pam Silver badge

    We're sorry Dave, the spam in a can

    Isn't fully baked yet

  6. CustomCruiser

    It's a lemon

    Won't take many more issues before it starts making Block 1 Apollo look good...and that killed three astronauts.

  7. PeterM42








  8. RobThBay

    Here we go again.... remember Apollo 1 fire

    ...flammability risk of some of the tape used to protect wires...

    Hopefully they're not planning to fill the capsule with 100% oxygen.

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

      Re: Here we go again.... remember Apollo 1 fire

      "Space is hard" is the goto excuse when somethig goes wrong with this new generation of spaceships... but it wouldn't be as hard if they didn't actively ignore lessons learned (the hard way) 60 years ago!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    total losses on the project to $1.4 billion.

    Hey, Apple could afford that as an R&D side project!

    Are rounded corners good for re-entry?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: total losses on the project to $1.4 billion.

      Why yes, yes they are. Very good for aerodynamics :-)

      Would you go to space in an Apple spaceship? based on their usual level of engineering, probably yes. But they are shite for repairs and maintenance :-)

      I wonder what would happen if they built rockets too? Would the Apple Core Stage be reusable or would they expect you to buy a new one each time you used"broke" one :-)

      1. Spherical Cow

        Re: total losses on the project to $1.4 billion.

        Square corners can also be good for aerodynamics, for example with a truncated tear-drop, as used at the rear end of many cars (and even the trailing edge of my roof-racks).

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Boeing Boeing

    Boeing is such a great example of an engineering company transformed into a cash cow for shareholders. With no lesson taken.

    Without the massive subsidies from the US government through military contracts, Boeing would be destined to be History.

  11. nautica Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    NASA astronauts Sunita "Suni" Williams and Barry "Butch" Wilmore should categorically refuse to go, and NASA needs to pull the plug...and right now. This fiasco has gone on long enough, and there already exists a large enough body count due to Boeing's total and complete incompetence and lack of anything remotely resembling "engineering".

    Any "engineering" which may be happening here has, for far too long, smelled suspiciously like the same type of "engineering" which went into the design of the Boeing 737MAX.

    The phrase "Boeing engineering" is the ultimate oxymoron, and an insult to engineers everywhere.

  12. Hal18ut

    Starliner not due to fly until at least 2024, ISS due to be decommissioned in 2031.

    Let's see what excuse Congress comes up with to spaff billions of US tax dollars on extending the end date of the ISS so Boeing can make their money back on this bucket of bolts.

  13. gdarbari

    Boeing's time as a pioneer in Space exploration has come to an end and the faster it realizes the same the better it is for it's shareholders and the company. Time and Cost over runs in the Starliner project is a case in point. It's an elephant that has not adopted to the evolving technologies and is too bureaucratic to handle such projects. It was a great place but sadly no longer is

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