Aday after Boeing confirmed delays in test flights of its commercial crew vehicle, NASA said that the company's crewed test flight will get an extended stay at the station when it does fly.
NASA said that the Crew Flight Test of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner, expected no sooner than late this year, will be a long-duration flight that could potentially stay at the station for months. The exact duration of the mission will be determined "at a later date," the agency said, Space.com reported.
NASA announced a year ago that it was working with Boeing to examine the feasibility of an extended Starliner test flight at the station. That extended mission would effectively turn the test flight into a crew rotation mission as NASA's access to Soyuz seats runs out.
"NASA's assessment of extending the mission was found to be technically achievable without compromising the safety of the crew," Phil McAlister, director of the commercial spaceflight division at NASA Headquarters, said in the statement.
"Commercial crew flight tests, along with the additional Soyuz opportunities, help us transition with greater flexibility to our next-generation commercial systems under the Commercial Crew Program."
The NASA statement came a day after Boeing said it was delaying the first, uncrewed Starliner test flight, known as the Orbital Flight Test, from this spring to August.