June 1 launch opportunity for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft

June 1 launch opportunity for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft
June 1 launch opportunity for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft

The first crewed space flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, already postponed many times, could take place on June 1, NASA announced on Wednesday.

“The teams are now working on a launch opportunity at 12:25 p.m. (4:25 p.m. GMT) on Saturday, June 1,” the American space agency said in a press release, although this date does not seem entirely firm.

She thus specifies the existence of “additional opportunities” on June 2, 5 and 6, and must give more details on Friday.

The launch of this mission to the International Space Station (ISS), crucial for Boeing and awaited for years, has already been postponed numerous times.

On Tuesday, NASA announced that it would postpone the launch planned for Saturday.

The latest problem is a “small helium leak” detected on the spacecraft, NASA announced last week, which ordered this vehicle from Boeing ten years ago to transport its astronauts to the ISS.

“Work continues to evaluate Starliner” due to this leak, the US space agency said on Wednesday.

The takeoff was canceled at the last moment on May 6 – while the two astronauts forming the crew were already installed on board – because of a problem with a valve of the rocket, now repaired.

But since then, it is the helium leak which has continued to cause the postponement of a new launch attempt.

The development of Starliner was years behind schedule due to a series of unpleasant surprises, including a first test flight to the ISS without a crew on board, finally carried out in 2022.

Boeing was thus beaten by SpaceX, which has already played the role of space taxi for NASA astronauts since 2020. The American space agency, however, wishes to have a second vehicle to be able to better manage possible emergency situations in the station or problems on one of the capsules.

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