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First crewed Boeing Starliner flight delayed again

By AFP

May 23, 2024 11:12 AM


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The first crewed launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station has again been delayed, and June 1 is now a possible new liftoff date, NASA said Wednesday.

The US space agency released a statement calling that day a launch opportunity and mentioning June 2, 5 and 6 as other possibilities so no day yet appears to be etched in stone.

The postponement of the launch, which had been set for Saturday, marks the third delay this month for the highly anticipated mission, which would allow NASA to certify a second commercial vehicle to carry crews to the ISS, beyond Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Earlier this month, the Starliner launch was postponed just hours before liftoff, with the astronauts already strapped in, due to a separate technical issue.

Then last week, another delay was announced to allow teams to further assess a helium leak linked to the service module, which sits on top of the rocket.

"Work continues to assess Starliner performance and redundancy" following the discovery of that leak, NASA said Wednesday.

The postponements come as the Starliner program faces years of delays and at a challenging time in general for Boeing, which is separately facing safety questions around its commercial aviation arm.

NASA has used Musk's SpaceX to ferry crews to the ISS since 2020, ending a nearly decade-long dependence on Russian rockets following the end of the Space Shuttle program.


AFP


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