Boeing Successfully Launches First Crewed Starliner Flight to ISS

Boeing successfully launched its first crewed Starliner flight on Wednesday, beginning a crucial final test of the delayed spacecraft.

The mission, with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams aboard, took off at 10:52 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

Fifteen minutes after launch, the rocket released the Starliner capsule into orbit. While onboard cameras will capture the journey, video transmission to the ground will only begin once Starliner reaches the ISS.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams aboard Starliner for a crucial final flight test to the ISS.

The spacecraft is set to dock with the ISS after about 25 hours, at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday. The astronauts will spend a week on the ISS conducting tests before returning to Earth.

This launch followed several aborted attempts. A launch on Saturday was canceled due to a ground support computer issue, and an early May attempt was halted due to a rocket valve problem.

ULA addressed these issues by replacing the faulty components. Additionally, a minor helium leak in Starliner’s propulsion system was found but deemed non-critical.

Initially seen as a competitor to SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, Starliner’s numerous delays have relegated it to a backup role. SpaceX’s Dragon has been operational since 2020 under NASA’s Commercial Crew program.

Boeing has faced $1.5 billion in additional costs and used nearly $5 billion of NASA development funds. Despite setbacks, Boeing is contracted for six operational Starliner missions to the ISS.

Both astronauts are seasoned space veterans and former Navy pilots. The Atlas V rocket used for this mission marks its 100th launch. Starliner, designed for up to ten missions, can carry four astronauts and over 200 pounds of cargo.

Michael Manua
Michael Manua
Michael, a seasoned market news expert with 29 years of experience, offers unparalleled insights into financial markets. At 61, he has a track record of providing accurate, impactful analyses, making him a trusted voice in financial journalism.
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