After being awarded its first mission in May, Boeing has been given a second mission to transport crew to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2017. The crew rotation mission is the second of between two and six missions for the company as part of NASA's US$4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap).

The mission announced by NASA on December 18 will use Boeing's Commercial Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) "Starliner" capsule, which passed several development milestones this year. It will be launched atop an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance, which has completed work on the first man-rated launch tower built at Cape Canaveral since the 1960s at Space Launch Complex-41.

Boeing was selected in 2014 along with SpaceX's Crew Dragon to use privately developed and operated spacecraft to resume American manned space flights by 2017. The goal of the flights will be to deliver four NASA or NASA-sponsored astronauts and 220 lb (100 kg) of cargo to the ISS, after which the spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days, where it will act as a lifeboat in the event of an emergency.