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NASA Delays Boeing’s Starliner Launch To Later This Week

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NASA rescheduled the launch of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, opting out of a potential Sunday launch window. The agency announced the delay to allow crews to address a ground support equipment issue that led to Saturday’s launch being aborted, as stated in a Sunday blog post.

The next available launch opportunities are scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6. NASA cited the launch attempt’s halt “due to the computer ground launch sequencer not loading into the correct operational configuration after proceeding into terminal count,” in a post on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.

The launch was scrubbed approximately 4 minutes before liftoff. This follows several delays, including a May 6 launch aborted due to technical issues, an oxygen leak, and a helium leak from the capsule’s propulsion system.

Boeing’s Starliner mission, known as the Boeing Crew Flight Test, aims to transport two NASA astronauts, Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams, both former Navy pilots, to and from the International Space Station. Once aboard the ISS, Wilmore and Williams will conduct tests on the Starliner spacecraft and its subsystems during their approximately one-week stay.

The Starliner capsule is designed to accommodate a crew of up to seven for missions to low-Earth orbit. For NASA missions, it would carry four astronauts, along with a combination of cargo and scientific instruments, to and from the space station. Success with the Starliner would initiate NASA’s final certification process for crewed rotation missions to the space station.

Boeing was granted $4.8 billion from NASA in 2014 to develop Starliner, a privately built vehicle capable of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. In comparison, SpaceX, Boeing’s competitor, received $3.1 billion from NASA to develop its spacecraft under the commercial crew program.

Additionally, NASA paid SpaceX $2.9 billion to create the first commercial human lander for the agency’s Artemis moon missions, with plans for future trips to Mars.

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