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Boeing’s Starliner set to launch first crewed flight into space Saturday

Boeing’s Starliner program is scheduled to launch its first crewed space mission this weekend after earlier technical issues delayed takeoff.

NASA and Boeing have both approved a key test flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 12:25 pm local time on Saturday. The first test flight will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft carrying astronauts Barry “Batch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams will be aboard an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance (ULA). A successful flight to orbit will prove the program can get astronauts to the ISS and back. Boeing is expected to receive certification from NASA for routine flights.

The program has run into problems and had to postpone flights this month.

The flight was scheduled to take off on May 6, but was canceled due to valve problems. This technical problem caused a further delay to the historic takeoff. Another attempt, scheduled for May 17, was postponed due to a fuel leak and the need for further testing.

Boeing Said It announced Wednesday that a backup launch opportunity would be available on Sunday, with several other launch opportunities available on June 5th and 6th.

Mission controllers said last week that the valve had been replaced but that the helium leak problem would not be resolved before the scheduled takeoff.

“This leakage is manageable even if the leak rate increases by a factor of 100,” said Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. according to This was reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Wilmore and Williams were quarantined in Houston until the technical issues were resolved. Boeing said they were due to return to Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday and remain quarantined in the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building until launch on Saturday.

If the flight goes as planned, the crew will spend a week on the ISS before returning to Earth.

Boeing has been developing the Starliner program for more than a decade, aiming to give NASA a new option for sending astronauts to the ISS. With the mission complete, Boeing will be looking to increase competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has been ferrying astronauts to the ISS since 2020.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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