Selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1996, Fincke was first assigned to the International Space Station Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) arena at the Johnson Space Center and also served as a Crew Test Support Team member in Russian Federation for Expeditions 4 and 6.
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 U.S. using American-made rockets for the first time since the closure.
Michael "Mike" Fincke will replace Boe on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner's first flight test with crew scheduled to launch no earlier than August.
NASA astronaut Eric Boe, a former space shuttle Discovery and Endeavour pilot, will not be on the first Boeing Starliner launch from Cape Canaveral with astronauts, NASA officials announced Tuesday. On the other hand, Boe was assigned to this launch in August of 2018, along with eight other astronauts. He flew on two long-duration missions to the International Space Station on Soyuz spacecraft in 2004 and 2008-2009, as well as the final flight of the shuttle Endeavour, STS-134, in 2011.
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He was then selected as one of four astronauts to work closely with Boeing and SpaceX in the development of their Starliner and Dragon crew transportation spacecraft - working with fellow astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and Sunita Williams. They all took part in the inaugural missions for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
A high-profile case occurred previous year when NASA removed astronaut Jeanette Epps from her mission to the International Space Station (ISS.) Epps-who would have become the first African American to be part of a long-term mission on the ISS-has said that she still doesn't understand the reasons for her reassignment.
Four years later, Fincke launched to space for the second time as Commander of Expedition 18. So far, the Pennsylvania native has spent 382 days in space and performed nine spacewalks.
Now available schedules from NASA show this mission launching No Earlier Than (NET) August 2019 - though it is expected to slip deeper into 2019.