Watch: Boeing’s Nail-Biting First Crewed Launch Attempt to the ISS

Watch: Boeing’s Nail-Biting First Crewed Launch Attempt to the ISS

It’s been over a decade in the making, but Boeing is finally ready to launch its first crewed test flight to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of its agreement with NASA.

Boeing Starliner spacecraft is set for launch on Monday at 10:34 p.m. ET (Tuesday 12:34 pm AEST) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The crew capsule will ride atop United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket, carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the space station and back.

NASA will broadcast the launch live on its website and the space agency’s YouTube channel, and you can also tune in through the feed below.


NASA’s Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test Launch

Boeing’s Crewed Flight Test is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and is meant to transport crew and cargo to and from the ISS under a $US4.3 billion contract with the space agency. NASA’s other commercial partner, SpaceX, just launched its eighth crew to the space station.

It’s been a rough journey for Boeing to make it to this point. Starliner’s first uncrewed test flight in 2019 managed to reach space, but a software automation glitch caused the spacecraft to burn excess fuel, preventing it from making it to the ISS. Starliner miscalculated its location in space due to a glitch caused by a faulty mission elapsed timer.

The botched first flight prompted NASA to call for a second test flight of the empty spacecraft before a crew rides on board. In May 2022, Boeing completed the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), the second uncrewed test flight of Starliner, setting the stage for a crewed test flight. But OFT-2 suffered a few hiccups, including the failure of a thruster used for orbital maneuvering.

Boeing’s crewed Starliner launch was initially set for February 2023, then postponed to late April, and finally rescheduled for July 21, 2023. A few weeks before liftoff, however, the company announced that it was standing down from the launch attempt to address newfound issues with the crew vehicle.

The program has suffered from a slew of problems and delays from the start, which makes Monday’s launch an absolute nail-biter.

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