Boeing has announced it is taking an additional $185 million charge to prepare its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for a second uncrewed flight in 2022.
The charge is driven by the upcoming launch and “the latest assessment of remaining work”, the company revealed in its financial results statement on October 27, 2021.
“The safety of the Starliner spacecraft, our employees and our crew members remains our number one priority and we are taking the time to work through the process now to set this system up for success on OFT-2 and all future Starliner missions,” Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in the statement.
The original $4.2 billion contract, which Boeing signed with NASA in 2010, was fixed-price, meaning that the company must cover any additional expenses.
The initial plans called for Starliner to be operational by 2015. The spacecraft conducted its first uncrewed flight test in 2019, which was only partially successful. A software failure prevented the capsule from docking with the International Space Station (ISS) and, after spending two days in orbit, the Starliner landed.
The second uncrewed test was planned for November 2020, but was delayed several times after significant technical issues were detected in its propulsion system. Following the delays, Boeing agreed to cover the first $410 million charge.
CST-100 Starliner is intended as a partially reusable spacecraft that could carry up to seven people to the ISS. Following the delays, its first crewed flight test is now expected to take place in late 2022.
The Starliner, along with SpaceX Dragon, was selected for the Commercial Crew Program following the retirement of the Space Shuttle. The Dragon completed its first docking with the ISS in 2012, and has conducted crewed flights since 2020.