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Saturday, June 15, 2024

First crewed Boeing Starliner flight to space station delayed another four days

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The repeatedly delayed first crewed launch of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed for at least another four days from Tuesday, May 21 to Saturday, May 25, NASA announced in an official blog.

“The teams now are targeting a launch no earlier than 3:09 p.m. EDT [Eastern Daylight Time] Saturday, May 25, for the flight test carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station,” the blog said on Friday.

The additional time will allow engineering teams to further assess a small helium leak in the Boeing Starliner spacecraft’s service module traced to a flange on a single reaction control system thruster, the blog explained.

“NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) teams will take additional time to work through spacecraft closeout processes and flight rationale before proceeding with the launch of the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test,” the blog said.

Even if the repeatedly delayed and heavily over-budget Starliner succeeds in its first crewed mission with astronauts Wilmore and Williams, industry analysts said this week it looks unlikely to significantly threaten SpaceX and its Dragon spacecraft in dominating the US side of supplying the space station.

UNI/SPUTNIK AKS

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