Boeing, NASA say Starliner's return to Earth to be further delayed

US aerospace giant Boeing's new Starliner spacecraft is expected to return to Earth much later than initially scheduled due to mechanical issues.

US space agency NASA and Boeing made the announcement on Wednesday.

Starliner lifted off with two NASA astronauts onboard and docked at the International Space Station in June.

The spacecraft was initially planned to bring the crew back to Earth in about a week, but it remains docked to the ISS due to glitches found in its thruster system.

NASA and Boeing said they are currently performing ground tests of the spacecraft's propulsion system, and they will decide on a new return date after reviewing the test results.

No health problems have been reported about the two astronauts.

The astronauts told reporters on Wednesday that it feels great to work with ISS crew members, and that they are not complaining about spending a couple of extra weeks in space.

Starliner is in the final stage of test flights. If approved by NASA, Boeing's spacecraft will be used as another way to taxi astronauts into space.