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Boeing's Starliner is delayed, again

Two astronauts have been delayed for nearly three weeks waiting for the craft to be ready to take them to the International Space Station.
Boeing's Starliner capsule atop an Atlas V rocket
Posted at 8:58 PM, May 22, 2024

For nearly three weeks two astronauts have been waiting for their flight on Boeing's Starliner spacecraft for a trip to the International Space Station. NASA has been working with commercial companies on two different crewed spaceflight projects, with the Starliner trip originally slotted for a May 6 flight, but mechanical issues have delayed that mission.

Preparations for the test flight have been ongoing for years. In an episode of a NASA podcast recorded in 2018, Tony Castilleja of Boeing called the Starliner a spaceship "for the next generation of human spaceflight."

The NASA moon rocket rolls back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center

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Castilleja said "A typical mission will take about six hours to the International Space Station."

This month's delays may have been due to a faulty fuel valve and an unrelated helium leak, Popular Science reported.

In a sign that there is still some uncertainty about the mission, a statement from NASA did not announce a new launch date for the mission, according to details obtained by Space News.

“NASA will share more details once we have a clearer path forward," the statement said. On May 21 NASA said it would not go forward with the planned May 25 launch of the craft on the Crew Flight Test mission. That mission would have had the two NASA astronauts on board.