ISS

THE launch for Boeing’s spacecraft has been scrubbed just hours before it was bound for the International Space Station with crew members aboard for the very first time.

Starliner was supposed to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 10:34 pm ET, but issues with its oxygen value caused NASA to shut it down. 

Boeing's spacecraft Starliner failed to launch after it was highly waited by many

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Boeing’s spacecraft Starliner failed to launch after it was highly waited by manyCredit: EPA
Starliner also had a failed launch attempt in 2021 for valve issues

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Starliner also had a failed launch attempt in 2021 for valve issuesCredit: Getty
Astronauts Butch Wilmore, 61, and Suni Williams, 58, were going to be the first crew members aboard Starliner

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Astronauts Butch Wilmore, 61, and Suni Williams, 58, were going to be the first crew members aboard StarlinerCredit: EPA

NASA and Boeing held a press conference after the cancellation to address what happened.

Kenneth Bowersox, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, said they will be troubleshooting and going over data to decide when it will be safe for Starliner to launch again. 

But a new launch date is currently unknown at this time.

NASA posted on X, formerly known as Twitter announcing the cancelation and said Starliner was being removed from the launch pad.

“Today’s #Starliner launch is scrubbed as teams evaluate an oxygen relief valve on the Centaur Stage on the Atlas V. Our astronauts have exited Starliner and will return to crew quarters,” NASA said. 

An official in Mission Control explained on the NASA TV broadcast that, “The engineering team has evaluated the vehicle is not in a configuration where we can proceed with flight today.” 

The flight was going to be Starliner’s final test before doing regular service flights for NASA and would have marked a pivotal moment for Boeing. 

Astronauts Butch Wilmore, 61, and Suni Williams, 58, were set to be on board the Starliner – they have extensive training with the Navy space program. 

Wilmore and Williams were set to spend a little over a week at the ISS with Starliner and said it be like “returning home” as they have both spent months there in the past. 

HIGHLY AWAITED LAUNCH

Starliner intended to undergo testing at the ISS to ensure everything was working properly and then return to Earth.

The Boeing spacecraft was created in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. 

The program is aimed at making space flights commercial and frequently bringing people and cargo back and forth from Earth. 

“For NASA service missions to the International Space Station, it will carry up to four NASA-sponsored crew members and time-critical scientific research,” Boeing said.

The successful launch of Starliner will eventually be a major groundbreaking moment for Boeing and NASA.

Boeing has been under pressure lately due to several major issues arising with its passenger planes and its success with Starliner is crucial. 

Starliner has also seen its fair share of issues in the past. 

Its first uncrewed test flight was in 2019 but the spacecraft was not put on the correct route so it never made it to the ISS.

And in 2021 it didn’t make it off the launchpad due to blocked valves.

Starliner finally made it to the ISS in 2022 with no crew and was hopeful it would bring crew that year but was unsuccessful. 

“There are a number of things that were surprises along the way that we had to overcome,” said Boeing executive Mark Nappi.

“It certainly made the team very strong, and very proud of how they have overcome every single issue that we’ve encountered.

“It’s pretty typical that a human spaceflight vehicle from design to flying humans is about a 10-year period.”

‘REALLY IMPORTANT’

Nasa is also looking forward to having another spacecraft help bring cargo/crew to and from Space. 

Currently, the only operating spacecraft going back and forth from ISS with NASA is SpaceX’s Dragon. 

Dana Weigel, manager of Nasa’s International Space Station program called having another operating spacecraft “really important,” Live Science reported. 

Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, called the Starliner Crew Flight test, or CFT, “an absolutely critical milestone” before the canceled event. 

However, Free said everyone was expecting to run into some issues due to how new it is. 

“Let me just remind everybody again, this is a new spacecraft,” Free said last week.

“We certainly have some unknowns in this mission, we may encounter things we don’t expect. 

But our job now is to remain vigilant and keep looking for issues.”

Starliner's first launch was in 2019 but it did not make it to the ISS

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Starliner’s first launch was in 2019 but it did not make it to the ISSCredit: AFP
Boeing's spacecraft was going to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida

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Boeing’s spacecraft was going to blast off from Cape Canaveral, FloridaCredit: AFP





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