Boeing's crew capsule declared ready for 1st space flight

Boeing's Starliner crew capsule finally has a launch date for its first test flight to the International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Boeing's Starliner crew capsule finally has a launch date for its first test flight to the International Space Station.

After an intensive review Thursday, NASA and Boeing managers agreed to a Dec. 20 liftoff.

Just a few technical issues remain to be completed, he noted.

No one will be aboard, just a mannequin named Rosie. Three astronauts will strap in for the second test flight of a Starliner sometime next year.

SpaceX also plans to launch astronauts for NASA next year. The company conducted a test flight without a crew back in March.

NASA turned to the two private companies in 2014 to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket will provide the Starliner's lift from Cape Canaveral, a little before sunrise. The capsule will parachute into New Mexico on Dec. 28 to close out the flight.

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