June 15, 2024

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NASA announces a new launch date for the crewed Boeing Starliner mission after several delays

NASA announces a new launch date for the crewed Boeing Starliner mission after several delays

The mission was recently delayed due to a small helium leak.

NASA announced the new date for the launch of the first manned flight into space aboard Boeing’s Starliner aircraft after several delays.

The first flight will attempt a launch on Saturday, June 1 at 12:25 p.m. ET, with backup dates set for June 2, 5 and 6, the Federal Space Agency said in a statement. Blog post Late Wednesday.

This comes after the Starliner launch was postponed several times. The manned flight test was initially scheduled for May 6, but it was not It was cleaned after a problem with the oxygen valve On a rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA), which manufactures and operates rockets that launch spacecraft into orbit.

A new launch date was set for May 25, but a small helium leak was discovered in the service module, which contains support systems and tools to operate the spacecraft.

“There has been an extraordinary amount of analysis and testing over the past two weeks by the joint NASA, Boeing and ULA teams to replace the spacecraft. [valve] “Troubleshooting a helium manifold leak in the Starliner Service Module. It was important that we took our time to understand all the intricacies of each issue,” Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager, said in a statement.

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The Starliner is designed to carry a crew of seven, but aboard the “test drive” launch flight will be NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore, 61, a former US Navy captain who will command the flight, and Sunita Williams, 58, a former naval officer. The service member who will lead the flight.

Williams and Wilmore continue to train in Starline simulators to prepare for the flight and remain in quarantine at Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA said that when the new launch date approaches, they will return to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After Starliner is launched into orbit, the flight will be approximately 24 hours to the International Space Station (ISS), during which the crew will test several flight objects, such as inspecting equipment, According to NASA.

Williams and Willmore are expected to spend one week aboard the International Space Station and will evaluate the spacecraft and its systems. Upon its return, the spacecraft will deploy its parachutes and airbag system, landing the pair in the western United States

NASA and Boeing said a media conference call will be held on Friday, May 24, where officials will provide “insight into the next targeted launch opportunity and updates on ongoing work.”

If the mission is successful, NASA could certify the spacecraft for routine missions to and from the International Space Station. NASA primarily uses SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

Missions are part of a larger one Commercial crew program At NASA, which uses American rockets and spacecraft to launch astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station in hopes of helping the federal space agency prepare for its upcoming missions to the Moon and Mars.

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ABC News’ Leah Sarnoff and Gina Senseri contributed to this report.