Tue, Jun 25, 2024
Boeing trying again to launch astronauts to space

Boeing trying again to launch astronauts to space

  • PublishedJune 5, 2024

The Wednesday launch attempt comes after Saturday’s planned liftoff was called off because of a failed power unit.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Boeing geared up again Wednesday for its first astronaut launch, held up for years by safety concerns.

The astronauts will test Starliner’s systems on the way to the International Space Station, where they’ll spend at least a week before aiming for a touchdown in the western U.S.

NASA hired Boeing along with SpaceX after the space shuttles retired to transport astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX has been ferrying astronauts since 2020.

Boeing’s capsule rocketed into orbit in 2019 without a crew, but that test flight was cut short by software problems. Boeing had better luck on the do-over mission in 2022, but parachute and other issues later were discovered, delaying Starliner’s crew debut even further.

Minutes before Saturday’s planned liftoff, a computer’s power unit failed at the pad that had to be replaced by rocket maker United Launch Alliance. And a bad valve inside the Atlas V rocket scrapped the launch attempt in early May.

Boeing is hoping to join a small but growing community of private rocket builders contracted with NASA to send equipment and astronauts into space. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was the first private company to launch astronauts into orbit, and has been successful in sending several missions to the International Space Station, bringing supplies and new personnel. 

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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