A NASA safety panel said that while Boeing was making good progress on implementing changes to its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, it had doubts that work could be done in time to allow another test flight this year.
The contract is for the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications program, known as Evolved Strategic Satcom.
Fleet operator SES on Aug. 20 said it selected SpaceX to launch four recently ordered O3b mPower broadband satellites.
Boeing will build four additional O3b mPower satellites for SES under an order announced Aug. 7 to expand the constellation to 11 satellites in medium Earth orbit.
Members of a NASA safety panel expressed continued concern about quality issues with Boeing’s commercial crew spacecraft while cautiously supporting SpaceX’s plans to fly reused spacecraft on future crewed missions.
NASA announced July 7 that it has completed two major reviews that stemmed from Boeing’s flawed commercial crew test flight last December as the agency and company prepare for a second test flight later this year.
Boeing and Northrop Grumman will each build two geostationary communications satellites for SES designed specifically for C-band services in the United States, SES announced June 16.
A NASA safety panel believes the agency’s plan to launch a SpaceX commercial crew test flight in late May is feasible, although some issues still need to be resolved before the launch.
SpaceX won a NASA contract to deliver cargo to the lunar Gateway by offering what the agency determined to be the most effective solution and at the lowest price.
Boeing announced April 6 that it has decided to fly a second uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle later this year to confirm it has corrected problems encountered in a test flight last December.
NASA has completed the crew for the first operational SpaceX commercial crew mission to the International Space Station, one that will not include any Russian cosmonauts after Roscosmos officials said they would not fly on what they consider an unproven vehicle.
Although an independent review team has wrapped up its investigation into issues with last December’s uncrewed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, NASA says it will be some time before it decides if a second uncrewed test flight is needed.