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NASA astronauts launch on Boeing Starliner spacecraft to International Space Station

todayJune 5, 2024 2

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UPDATE: NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams lifted off at 10:52 a.m. ET in Boeing’s Starliner on top of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Continue to follow post-launch coverage here.– Previous story below – CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Teams in Florida are preparing for the third launch attempt of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft with two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).NASA and Boeing set a new target launch date for Wednesday at 10:52 a.m. ET to launch astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore in the Starliner capsule on top of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.Forecasters with the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 90% chance of favorable weather for Wednesday with cumulus cloud cover being the primary concern. There are some coastal showers off Florida, but they should stay far enough away from the launch facility.”It looks like we’re launching into a clear blue sky,” NASA commentator Derrol Nail said. The latest attempt comes after two countdowns on May 6 and June 1 ended in launch scrubs for different reasons. The most recent launch was scrubbed minutes before blastoff because of an issue at the launchpad. ULA CEO Tory Bruno said one of three computer cards at Launch Complex 41 was slow to start up, causing a hold in the countdown. NASA said ULA engineers worked through the weekend to find the source of the problem and replaced the problematic part with another.HOW BOEING’S STARLINER SPACECRAFT, CREW WILL AVOID POTENTIALLY DEADLY ‘BLACK ZONES’ DURING TRIP TO ISS”A full failure analysis of the power unit will be performed to better understand the root cause. Meanwhile, ULA has completed functional checkouts of the new chassis and the cards, and all hardware is performing normally,” NASA said in a statement. Wilmore and Williams have remained at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center while they await their next launch attempt. The pair will be the first astronauts to launch in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft as part of the Crew Flight Test (CFT), the final stage to certify the vehicle for human flights to the ISS. By Wednesday morning, both astronauts were settled into their spacecraft and teams were working through the final hours of the countdown. In 2014, NASA awarded contracts to Boeing and SpaceX under the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program to develop spacecraft to fly astronauts to and from the space station. Boeing’s journey to develop and certify the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft has faced delays over the past 10 years. The company took two tries to complete the orbital flight test when the first attempt to launch a crewless Starliner in 2019 failed to reach the ISS due to a computer timing error. A 2022 orbital flight test was successful, but Boeing engineers found issues with the spacecraft after examining data from the flight, further delaying the Crew Flight Test with astronauts.  JUNE SKYGAZING HIGHLIGHTS: STRAWBERRY MOON, SUMMERTIME PLANET PARADEBoeing’s CFT comes four years after SpaceX first launched two NASA astronauts to the space station, ending U.S. reliance on Russia for transport to the orbiting laboratory after the space shuttle program ended.  The company is preparing for its ninth flight with a NASA crew this summer.When it happens, Williams and Wilmore will spend about a week on the International Space Station testing Starliner’s systems before returning to Earth.A successful CFT will culminate in a soft landing of the Starliner spacecraft in the Desert Southwest.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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