He did not provide further details.
Ferguson, an engineer and veteran of three space shuttle missions, left NASA’s astronaut corps in 2011 to help Boeing design and build a next-generation spacecraft that could take on the task of transporting astronauts to and from The International Space Station.
In 2018, Boeing announced that Ferguson will command Starliner’s first test flight and is expected to become the first corporate astronaut ̵
Ferguson was to be the only Boeing employee on board the Starliner test flight, and he was to be joined by two NASA astronauts in the capsule on his first flight.
But now the flight will be for all NASA astronauts.
NASA’s Wilmore Barry Wilmore, who has previously served on the International Space Station twice, will replace Ferguson as mission commander, joining NASA’s Mike Finke and Nicole Mann, who were previously appointed.
Boeing now plans to repeat the unscrewed test flight in December or January. Starliner is not expected to be ready for its first manned flight before June 2021.
Ferguson said on Twitter that he remained “deeply committed to human space flight” and “committed to the Starliner program.”
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m just not going to go into space next year,” he said, confirming that he would continue to work with Starliner’s Boeing.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is being developed under the NASA Merchant Crew Program, which provided $ 4.2 billion to Boeing and $ 2.6 billion to SpaceX in 2014. Both companies were expected to develop spacecraft that would remain private. owned, but which NASA could use to ferry astronauts to the ISS capability, which the space agency lost with the withdrawal of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
SpaceX won the race to the launch site with the launch of the Crew Dragon capsule in May.
Crew Dragon’s first fully operational mission, which will take four astronauts to the ISS for a six-month stay, is expected to take off on October 31.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ferguson was the first person to return to space after leaving NASA. John Glenn traveled in space in 1998, 34 years after resigning as an astronaut.