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Boeing’s Crewed Starliner Mission Faces Another Delay



On Thursday, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, was transported to the launch pad in preparation for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test.

Boeing planned launch of the Starliner space mission capsule canceled or you can say that another delay on Saturday only minutes before it supposed to take off.

With just 3 minutes and 50 seconds left in the countdown, the rocket computer stopped the launch. The spacecraft needs to take off at an exact time to meet up with the space station. So the mission will have to delayed by at least one more day.

NASA said the launch stopped because the computer system on the ground did not switch to the right settings during the final countdown. Teams are now working to figure out why this happened.

The space capsule supposed to take two NASA astronauts from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It would on a 25 hour trip to the International Space Station. This mission was the first time the commercially built capsule was going to carry people.


NASA has not said yet if they will try to launch on Sunday.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams set to take Starliner on its first trip. Which testing it before it starts regular missions for NASA. Since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011, NASA worked with two companies, Boeing and SpaceX, to transport astronauts to and from the space station.

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, astronauts Butch Wilmore (left) and Suni Williams stroll before embarking on Boeing's Starliner spacecraft for the Crew Flight Test mission.
At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, astronauts Butch Wilmore (left) and Suni Williams stroll before embarking on Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft for the Crew Flight Test mission.

Saturday’s launch cancellation happened about a month after the Starliner first supposed to fly to the space station, another mission already delay by years.

In an unusual twist, NASA also announced that the astronauts luggage would not going with them. This was not Boeing’s fault. The space station’s urine recycling system broke earlier this week and NASA needed to make space to send up a new pump instead.

“We had to remove two crew suitcases with clothes in them,” said Dana Weigel, manager of NASA’s International Space Station Program, during a press briefing on Friday.


Weigel mentioned that there are spare clothes and hygiene items on the space station that the crew can use during their stay. Here is what else to know about the now canceled launch.

Why Starliner First Crewed Flight Postpone?

In 2014 NASA gave a contract to Boeing of worth $4.2 billion to construct Starliner. Which purpose to transport astronauts on regular trips to the International Space Station.

The Starliner program faced significant another delay and financial challenges. Which falling far behind its initial schedule and surpassing its budget. Boeing the company behind Starliner reported losses exceeding $1 billion due to these setbacks.

Despite the initial promise of the project it encountered numerous obstacles. Which lead to increased costs and extended timelines. These challenges underscored the complexities involved in developing and implementing spacecraft for crewed missions to space.


In conjunction with awarding Boeing the contract NASA allocated $2.6 billion to SpaceX for the development of its Dragon capsule. Following this investment the Dragon capsule underwent a successful crewed test flight in 2020. Which mark a significant milestone in NASA’s commercial crew program.

Saturday launch delay was not first setback for the Starliner program.

During its initial mission in 2019 Starliner encountered a major issue. When it failed to reach the International Space Station (ISS). The problem stemmed from an onboard clock being set incorrectly leading a computer to prematurely fire the capsule engines.

Despite this setback the spacecraft successfully reached the ISS on its second test flight in 2022. Although it faced challenges with some thrusters not functioning as intended.


Last year, Boeing postponed Starliner’s inaugural crewed flight due to safety concerns. Company officials discovered that adhesive tape used on extensive lengths of wiring could potentially catch fire.

In this screenshot from video footage, Williams and Wilmore can be observed during the launch preparations aboard the Starliner capsule.
In this screenshot from video footage, Williams and Wilmore can be observed during the launch preparations aboard the Starliner capsule.

Additionally, they found that the lines connecting the capsule’s three parachutes were weaker than anticipated. These issues prompted the delay as Boeing worked to address the safety risks before proceeding with the mission.

The launch scheduled for May 6 was canceled because of a valve problem on the rocket carrying Starliner. Although the valve was replaced, engineers later found a small helium leak in one of Starliner’s thrusters.

The likely cause is a faulty seal, but engineers are not completely certain. Despite this issue, after thorough analysis spanning several weeks, they concluded that Starliner could still fly safely even with the leak.

Starliner’s Future:

If Starliner manages to launch successfully in the future, it will open the door for more Starliner missions. This means NASA will have two private spacecraft options available to transport astronauts to the space station. Having multiple spacecraft at its disposal enhances NASA’s capabilities and ensures redundancy in the event of any issues with one spacecraft.


During their mission, Wilmore and Williams intended to evaluate critical systems of Starliner as it docked with the space station. This included testing life support and communication systems.

Although the spacecraft is capable of autonomous flight, the two astronauts planned to assess the manual controls of the vehicle as it neared the orbiting outpost.

The crew had intended to stay on the station for approximately a week before returning to Earth, with a planned landing under parachutes expected as early as June 10 in Willcox, Arizona. This would mark the conclusion of their 10-day mission.

Teams at NASA and Boeing were set to carefully analyze the data collected from this flight before officially certifying the vehicle for operational missions. NASA’s goal is to alternate astronaut flights between Boeing and SpaceX, aiming for trips to the ISS approximately every six months.