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Boeing Starliner Spacecraft to Launch Crew Into Space

3 weeks ago
Featured image for the article "Boeing Starliner Spacecraft to Launch Crew Into Space "

After years of setbacks and delays, Boeing is finally on the cusp of a major milestone.

On Monday, May 6th at 10:34pm ET, Boeing is scheduled to launch its Starliner spacecraft on an Atlas V rocket at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Its first crew mission will be carrying NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams to the International Space Station (ISS).

This critical test flight is Boeing's last hurdle before it can secure NASA certification for regular astronaut transport to and from the space station.

The stakes are high as this will be the first crewed launch for the Starliner spacecraft, and after years of technical problems, budget overruns, and launch postponements.

A successful mission would crown Boeing as a serious competitor to Elon Musk's SpaceX, which has dominated the market since 2020.

A Public-Private Partnership Takes Flight

Both SpaceX and Boeing's spacecraft were born from NASA's Commercial Crew Program, an initiative established after the Space Shuttle program's retirement in 2011. The program's core purpose is to incentivize and financially support the development of commercially built spacecraft capable of flying to and from low-Earth orbit.

During a pre-launch press conference last week, Wilmore emphasized safety as the absolute priority. Heacknowledged that previous Starliner launches, both crewed and uncrewed, had been delayed due to the capsule simply not being fully operational.

“Why do we think it’s as safe as possible? We wouldn’t be standing here if we didn’t,” Wilmore told reporters.

“Do we expect it to go perfectly? This is the first human flight of the spacecraft,” Wilmore said. “I’m sure we’ll find things out. That’s why we do this. This is a test flight.”

Following the planned launch, the astronauts are scheduled to dock with the space station the following day for a roughly week-long stay before returning to Earth and landing in New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range.


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