Boeing has now admitted that its Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew capsule is late and will not make a crewed flight until August 2018 (delayed from February 2018). The first fully operational crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) will take place in December 2018. This will be several months later than originally envisaged by its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with NASA.
The postponement has apparently been forced by delays to the abort and flight testing programme in 2018; in turn, caused by damage discovered to the structural dome element of the spacecraft.
Comment by David Todd: Being “quickly up” was one of the reasons why Boeing’s CST-100, along with SpaceX’s Dragon 2, were selected over the more advanced but more complicated mini-shuttle rival, the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser. While that programme has been thrown a financial life line via unmanned commercial cargo contracts from NASA, the Dream Chaser now looks very hard done by in the final stage of the commercial crew competition. One suspects that it might have flown in a similar timeline to Boeing’s effort if it had been NASA funded.