As Boeing receives approval for the historic manned liftoff, NASA astronauts prepare.



On May 6, Starliner, a United Launch Alliance [ULA] Atlas V rocket, is scheduled to launch off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying NASA’s Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 10-day stay.

Just over a week before their planned takeoff, the two NASA astronauts assigned to Boeing’s first human spaceflight have arrived at their launch location.

Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore will pilot Boeing’s Starliner capsule, which is making its crewed debut after years of delay, as test pilots. On Thursday, they took out from Houston and landed at Kennedy Space Center.

The Starliner is scheduled to launch on May 6 aboard an Atlas rocket and arrive at the International Space Station for a seven-day checkout flight.

Boeing is attempting to overtake SpaceX, which since 2020 has been launching humans on behalf of NASA.

First spaceship flight by a human
Onboard Boeing’s two prior Starliner test flights, no one was present. Due to software issues and other issues, the first attempt to reach the space station in 2019 was unsuccessful.

2022 saw Boeing repeat the demo. The capsule had to have its flammable tape removed and parachute problems fixed more recently.

Wilmore emphasized that the purpose of this test flight is to find any problems.

Do we anticipate a flawless outcome? “This marks the spacecraft’s first human flight,” he informed reporters. We’ll undoubtedly discover the truth. We take this action for that reason.

Astronauts who have flown on an Atlas rocket
A decade ago, NASA paid billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to have them transport astronauts to and from the space station.

Even though the space station will be decommissioned by 2030, the space agency is still eager to have capsules from two rival businesses for its astronauts.

That’s quite crucial, Wilmore said.

Wilmore and Williams will be the first astronauts since NASA’s Project Mercury in the early 1960s to board an Atlas rocket.

The crew arrived to NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Tuesday, April 23, to begin their quarantine. Their visit had taken place about a week prior, on April 16, when they had watched Starliner travel six miles (10 kilometers) between facilities to connect with the Atlas V.

Before the completely constructed rocket is moved to KSC Launch Pad 41, engineers are actively evaluating communications between the rocket and spacecraft.


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