NASA replaces Boeing Starliner astronaut before first crewed launch

Eric Boe, NASA astronaut, pulled from upcoming flight due to medical issues

NASA announces test flight crew change for Boeing's Starliner

This will be Fincke's fourth trip to space since joining the astronaut corps in 1996.

NASA has replaced an astronaut assigned to Boeing's first launch with a crew.

He went on to serve as Commander of the NEEMO 2 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) underwater mission in May 2002 before he was assigned to his first spaceflight as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 9 to the International Space Station.

NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011, and says working with Boeing and SpaceX will allow American astronauts to launch to the ISS from the USA using American-made rockets for the first time since the closure.

Boeing plans to launch its first Starliner capsule without a crew this spring, followed by a launch with astronauts this summer to the International Space Station.

News 6 interviewed Boe in August, when NASA announced the astronauts who will be flying on the SpaceX and Boeing missions.

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Astronaut Eric Boe was pulled Tuesday from the upcoming test flight for unspecified medical reasons, after more than three years of training.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke tests the Orion spaceship exit procedure at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Boeing and SpaceX are both designing commercial crew capsules to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station in a bid to end NASA's sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transportation to low-Earth orbit. He returned as a mission specialist for the STS-134 crew on space shuttle Endeavour's final mission. However, before that happens, NASA will ensure that the new spacecraft is safe and ready for operational missions by first performing an unmanned orbital flight test in March. Fincke spent 381 days in space on those three missions, including more than 48 hours of EVA time on nine spacewalks.

In any case, Boe's removal is believed to mark only the fifth time in USA space program history that an astronaut has been pulled from a space flight assignment.

Two-time space shuttle pilot Boe was selected to be involved in the test flight previous year, however, he will now be unable to fly, according to the space agency.

On that same Starliner flight will be NASA astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, along with Chris Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut who now works for Boeing. However, NASA's contract with Roscosmos is expected to expire in November 2019.

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