Boeing Renames Commercial Crew Vehicle ‘CST-100 Starliner’

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Boeing has renamed the CST-100 spacecraft it is developing for NASA’s commercial crew program the CST-100 Starliner, the company announced Sept. 4.

Members of the press and the public mill around Boeing's new Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the Sept. 4 CST-100 Starliner name ceremony. Credit: Space News photo
Members of the press and the public mill around Boeing’s new Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the Sept. 4 CST-100 Starliner name ceremony. Credit: Space News photo

“We wanted to choose something that gave a nod to the next generation of space, and the next 100 years of flight,” said Chris Ferguson, the former NASA astronaut who is the director of crew and mission operations for the program.

The name, selected by a Boeing team, was also intended to honor previous company programs, like the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. “We really wanted to tie it to Boeing’s 100th anniversary” in 2016, said John Mulholland, Boeing commercial crew program manager, in an interview after the announcement.

Boeing announced the new name at a grand opening ceremony for its Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility here. Boeing will use the building, which previously was one of three Orbiter Processing Facilities that supported the shuttle program, to assemble and test the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft before launching them on Atlas 5 rockets.

Boeing has already moved into the facility even as renovation work there continues. “We’re in the middle of flight design and vehicle construction,” including assembly of a structural test article that will be used in ground tests in 2016, Mulholland said. The facility will be completed in December, when Boeing plans to start work on the next CST-100 Starliner vehicle to be used for qualification tests.