Boeing spacesuit CST-100
Boeing, which is building the CST-100 capsule to carry astronauts to the ISS, hopes to announce the two-person crew that will on the capsule's 2017 test flight. Credit: Boeing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Boeing plans to announce this summer the crew that will be on a test flight of the company’s CST-100 crew vehicle in 2017, as well as reveal the pressure suits the crew will wear.

John Elbon, vice president and general manager for space exploration at Boeing, said in an interview here April 15 that the company hoped to announce this summer the two-person crew that will fly on that test flight, planned for the middle of 2017. One crewmember will be a Boeing test pilot, and the other a NASA astronaut.

Elbon also said Boeing will also unveil later this summer the pressure suits the crew will wear on the vehicle. Those suits are being developed by David Clark Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts, a firm that also developed the pressure suit worn by astronauts on space shuttle missions.

“It is a big deal to have the suits done,” Elbon said. “It’s an important piece of the whole system.”

Work on the CST-100 system under NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract, awarded to Boeing in September of last year, remains on schedule. “There’s no showstoppers or nothing that unusual” about CST-100 development so far, he said.

The mid-2017 crewed test flight will be preceded by an uncrewed test flight in early 2017. He said Boeing is still studying whether that uncrewed flight will dock with the International Space Station or simply approach it. Under that schedule, Boeing would be ready to begin operational CST-100 missions to the ISS by late 2017.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...