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NASA replaces astronaut on Boeing's 1st crew launch

NASA replaces astronaut on Boeing's 1st crew launch

So far, he has spent a total of 382 days in space since joining the astronaut corps in 1996, with a record of nine spacewalks. The swap will see astronaut Eric Boe removed from the planned crew roster and replaced by Mike Fincke.

Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, who commanded the final space shuttle flight in 2011 before leaving NASA, said it would have been "an honor" to fly with Boe again to the space station.

NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011, and says working with Boeing and SpaceX will allow American astronauts to launch to the ISS from the United States using American-made rockets for the first time since the closure.

Boe will be replaced onboard the Starliner by Michael Fincke, an astronaut who previously served on the International Space Station as flight engineer and commander.

Fincke takes the place of astronaut Eric Boe (above), originally assigned to the mission in August 2018. Boe will take on a new role replacing Fincke as the assistant to the chief for commercial crew in the astronaut office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, according to NASA. NASA reported today that astronaut Eric Boe will no longer be flying on the mission because of unspecified "medical reasons".

Before either SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner are allowed to carry a crew, both companies will showcase the capabilities of their hardware with unmanned test flights which will be closely monitored by NASA.

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It is not common for astronaut crew members to be reassigned due to the high levels of preparation and training required for each flight, however, it does happen in some circumstances. Fincke's time in space now adds up to 382 days, with nine spacewalks performed.

Fincke was then assigned to his first and only Space Shuttle mission, STS-134.

Two-time space shuttle pilot Boe was selected to be involved in the test flight past year, however, he will now be unable to fly, according to the space agency.

Astronauts Robert Behnken, a two-flight shuttle veteran and former chief of NASA's astronaut office, and Doug Hurley, Ferguson's co-pilot for the final shuttle mission, were assigned to the first piloted flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Now available schedules from NASA show this mission launching No Earlier Than (NET) August 2019 - though it is expected to slip deeper into 2019.