Michael "Mike" Fincke to Crew Assignment for Manned Boeing Flight Test

Boe Mann Ferguson

22 that it is replacing an astronaut who was scheduled to fly on a commercial crew test flight later this year because of a medical issue.

Fincke became an astronaut in 1996 and has flown on three previous missions, including two long-duration stays at the International Space Station and one flight with the space shuttle program.

"We welcome NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, who brings almost two-and-a-half decades of spaceflight experience, to the Boeing Starliner team", a Boeing spokesperson said.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is replacing astronaut Eric Boe, initially set to take part in the first crewed test launch of the Starliner spacecraft later in 2019, with astronaut Mike Fincke, since Boe is unable to fly due to medical reasons, NASA said in a statement. NASA doesn't offer much in the way of details surrounding the decision to shuffle the astronauts other than to say that Boe 'is unable to fly due to medical reasons.' Boe was originally announced as a member of the crew in August 2018.

According to NASA, Boeing is targeting August for its first crewed flight from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at Space Launch Complex 41. That flight, known as Demonstration Mission-1 or DM-1, would be followed in the June time frame by a crewed DM-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley. Additionally, he was a mission specialist for the STS-134 crew in 2011.

Fincke launched on the two-person Expedition 9 mission on 18 April 2004 - when Station operations were restricted to just two crewmembers in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

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. So far, the Pennsylvania native has spent 382 days in space and performed nine spacewalks. They had been on the same shuttle flight in 2008 throughout station building. For Boeing, those names were Eric Boe and Christopher Ferguson, both shuttle missions veterans, accompanied by rookie Nicole Aunapu Mann.

Now available schedules from NASA show this mission launching No Earlier Than (NET) August 2019 - though it is expected to slip deeper into 2019.

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