Boeing Starliner Mission To ISS Rescheduled For June 5 After Fixing Launch Pad Equipment Issue

Benzinga · 06/03 11:17

The first crewed flight test of Boeing Co‘s (NYSE:BA) Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) will now be launched on June 5, the company said on Sunday, a day after Saturday’s scrubbed launch attempt.

What Happened: The launch planned for Saturday was halted after an issue with ground support equipment at the launch pad was identified. The team with United Launch Alliance (ULA) identified the issue and replaced a faulty part. Functional checkouts of the newly replaced parts have been completed and all hardware is performing normally, Boeing said.

While there was a launch opportunity available on Sunday, NASA, Boeing, and ULA decided to forgo it to give the team additional time to assess and fix the issue identified on Saturday. ULA, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, operates the Atlas V rocket that is supposed to carry Starliner to orbit.

Boeing is now looking at launching at 10:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. A backup launch opportunity is also available at 10:29 a.m. on June 6, the company said in a statement.

The two astronauts slated to undertake the flight, Suni Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore will remain in quarantine at NASA Kennedy crew quarters in the meantime.

Why It Matters: Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has been faced with several delays since the start. The spacecraft was supposed to have its first uncrewed test flight in 2015 which was delayed up to 2019. In 2022, the spacecraft completed its first uncrewed flight to the International Space Station.

If the upcoming crewed flight test is successful, Boeing will become the next private company to shuttle astronauts to and from the ISS for NASA, like Elon Musk‘s SpaceX.

NASA awarded both Boeing and SpaceX contracts to enable transportation to and from the ISS after retiring its space shuttle. SpaceX sent its first crewed mission to the ISS in 2020 on its Dragon spacecraft and has since then undertaken multiple missions, overtaking its traditional rival.

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