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NASA confirms readiness for highly anticipated crewed mission

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrive back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, May 28, ahead of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test.
NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrive back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, May 28, ahead of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test. NASA/Cory S. Huston

NASA and Boeing Space teams have confirmed their readiness to proceed with Saturday’s first crewed launch of the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

The result of the Flight Test Readiness Review was announced on Wednesday following a number of postponed efforts to launch the Starliner over the last month.

As engineers worked on final preparations for Saturday’s much-anticipated mission, the two astronauts who will fly aboard the Starliner — Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams — returned from Houston to the launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will remain in quarantine at the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building until flight day.

The pair already know what it’s like to sit inside the Starliner on the launchpad. On May 6, they were all ready to go when, just two hours from launch, engineers spotted an issue with a valve on the upper-stage Atlas V rocket that left mission controllers with no choice but to halt the countdown clock.

While the valve was being fixed, a helium leak was found on the Starliner that also had to be resolved. Following several weeks of work, engineers are now happy that the rocket and spacecraft are safe and ready to fly. The weather is looking good along the Space Coast for the weekend, too, with forecasters putting the probability of launch at 90%.

If for any reason Saturday’s mission is called off, a backup launch opportunity is available on Sunday, June 2, with additional launch windows on Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

If you’re interested in watching the buildup to the mission as well as the liftoff and the early stages of the flight, Digital Trends has all the information you need.

The first crewed Starliner test will pave the way for regular crewed missions to and from the ISS using the Boeing-made spacecraft. NASA has also been using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule for similar missions since 2020, but the Starliner will give the U.S. space agency another option when planning crewed missions to the orbital outpost.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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