Third Attempt for Boeing Starliner’s Manned Launch | Nationwide

Boeing is preparing for its third attempt to launch astronauts aboard the Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission is set to take off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, with the crew scheduled to spend around a week aboard the ISS. The last launch attempt was aborted due to an issue with the ground launch computer’s power supply source, which has since been replaced. The Starliner program has faced numerous challenges, including safety scares and delays, making a successful mission crucial for Boeing, especially due to recent safety concerns surrounding its passenger jets.

NASA is looking to endorse Boeing as a second commercial operator to transport crews to the ISS, a contract already held by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the past four years. Both companies were awarded multibillion-dollar contracts in 2014 to develop their crew capsules following the cessation of the Space Shuttle program, which led to the U.S. relying on Russian rockets for space travel momentarily. Despite its century-long history, Boeing’s program fell behind due to various setbacks, including a software bug that misdirected the spaceship during its first uncrewed test and the discovery of flammable electrical tape in the cabin after the second test.

During the previous launch attempt, a small helium leak was discovered in one of Starliner’s thrusters. Instead of replacing the seal, which would necessitate dismantling the spaceship in its factory, NASA and Boeing officials declared it safe enough to proceed. Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will be tasked with conducting an extensive evaluation of the Starliner, including manually controlling the spacecraft en route to the ISS. They will also perform additional tests during their stay on the ISS, including a simulation to assess if the ship can serve as a safe refuge in the event of issues on the orbital outpost. Following its mission, the Starliner will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and perform a parachute and airbag-assisted landing in the western United States.

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