Boeing Starliner launch scrubbed due to oxygen relief valve issue

Boeing Starliner launch scrubbed due to oxygen relief valve issue
Boeing Starliner launch scrubbed due to oxygen relief valve issue

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first-ever crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft scheduled for Monday night was scrubbed due to an oxygen relief valve issue in the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5′s Centaur upper stage.

NASA says that astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore have exited Starliner and will return to crew quarters.

It’s the first flight of Boeing’s Starliner capsule with a crew on board who will check out the spacecraft during the test drive and a weeklong stay at the space station.

The launch was set for 10:34 pm at Space Launch Complex 41. No new launch date has been announced yet.

Monday’s scrub adds to Starliner’s long list of delays as Boeing grappled with continued technical issues. The project is running years behind schedule.

NASA turned to US companies for astronaut rides after the space shuttles were retired. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has made nine taxi trips for NASA since 2020, while Boeing has managed only a pair of unoccupied test flights.

When Starliner finally lifts off, NASA can alternate between Boeing and SpaceX to get astronauts to and from the space station.

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No one was aboard Boeing’s two previous Starliner test flights. The first, in 2019, was hit with software trouble so severe that its empty capsule couldn’t reach the station until the second try in 2022. Then last summer, weak parachutes and flammable tape cropped up that needed to be fixed or removed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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