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Launch of Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft Cancelled Again, Minutes Before Liftoff

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Starliner Spacecraft -Photo Credit: Reuters

Boeing’s first attempt to launch its Starliner spacecraft with astronauts on board was cancelled on Saturday just minutes before liftoff. An automated computer system called off the flight less than four minutes before launch. NASA announced that the following possible launch dates are June 5 or 6 to allow more time for issue assessment.

The launch delay was triggered by an unspecified issue detected by the automated system. NASA and Boeing had initially scheduled a backup launch for Sunday, but this, too, was cancelled to investigate the problem further.

“The disappointment lasts about three seconds,” said Mark Nappi, Vice President and Program Manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “And then you just immediately get busy and do your job.”

NASA and Boeing officials have stated that an investigation into the cause of the malfunction is ongoing, with crew members working to troubleshoot the issue. ULA CEO Tory Bruno mentioned that the problem could be a hardware malfunction or a network issue.

The Starliner spacecraft, carried by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket, aims to transport two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission represents a significant step in certifying the Starliner system for regular crewed missions to the ISS. The astronauts on board, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, both have extensive spaceflight experience and will spend about a week on the ISS testing the Starliner system.

Starliner’s crew debut has been delayed by several years, while SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has been regularly flying astronauts for NASA since 2020.

Boeing has faced multiple setbacks and incurred significant costs due to these delays. Despite the challenges, the Starliner mission remains a crucial part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which aims to ensure the United States’ continued access to space.

Read more: China Achieves First-ever Sample Retrieval From Far Side Of The Moon 

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