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Medical issue forces switch for Starliner space crew

Mike Fincke
NASA astronaut Mike Fincke tests the Orion spaceship exit procedure at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas. (NASA via YouTube)

NASA says a medical issue is forcing a switch in the crew for the Boeing Starliner space taxi’s first crewed test flight to the International Space Station, currently scheduled for no earlier than August.

Astronaut Eric Boe will no longer be on the flight due to unspecified medical reasons, NASA announced today. Instead, three-time spaceflier Mike Fincke will take Boe’s place alongside NASA’s Nicole Mann and Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson.

Fincke will begin training for the Starliner flight immediately, while Boe will replace Fincke as assistant to the chief for commercial crew in the astronaut office at Johnson Space Center in Texas, NASA said.

Today’s personnel switch represents the first shift in a lineup for commercial crew flights that was announced last August.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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