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Boeing Starliner's First Crewed Mission Scrubbed

Published by Slashdot on Tue, 07 May 2024

"Out of an abundance of caution," Boeing says its historic Starliner launch has been postponed, citing an issue with the oxygen relief valve on the Atlas V rocket's upper stage. It was expected to launch tonight at 10:34 p.m. ET. TechCrunch reports: There are backup launch opportunities on May 7, 10 and 11. After years of delays and over $1 billion in cost overruns, the mission is set to be Boeing's first attempt to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Once the issue is resolved with the upper stage, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V will carry the CST-100 Starliner capsule to orbit along with the two onboard astronauts -- Butch Wilmore and Sunny Williams -- from Florida's Cape Canaveral at 10:34 PM local time Monday evening. The mission also marks the first time ULA's Atlas will carry crew. The rocket boasts a success rate of 100% across 99 missions. (ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.) The astronauts would now dock at the station at the earliest on Thursday, where they would remain for at least eight days. The two astronauts will return to Earth in the capsule no earlier than May 16. If all goes to plan, Boeing will be able to finally certify its Starliner for human transportation and begin fulfilling the terms of its $4.2 billion NASA astronaut taxi contract. That contract, under the agency's Commercial Crew Program, was awarded in 2014. Elon Musk's SpaceX was also granted a contract under that program, for its Crew Dragon capsule, and has been transporting astronauts to and from the ISS since 2020.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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