Boeing Scrubs Starliner Launch, Complicating Company’s Passenger Jet Woes

By Jose Resurreccion

May 06, 2024 09:23 PM EDT

Boeing Scrubs Starliner Launch, Complicating Company’s Passenger Jet Woes
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft sits atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test on May 05, 2024 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The liftoff to the International Space Station is scheduled for 10:34 p.m. ET on Monday.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Boeing scrubbed its attempt to launch its Starliner capsule, "Calypso," at 22:34 Eastern Time (02:34 UTC) on Monday (May 6) on top of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore (commander) and Sunita Williams (pilot) were supposedly launching with the capsule. Both astronauts were strapped inside the spacecraft when the call to scrub the launch was made, reported.

Boeing's Starliner Capsule Launch Postponed

According to ULA, its launch director, Tom Heter III, called after they saw an issue in an oxygen relief valve in the rocket's Centaur upper stage.

Williams named the capsule "Calypso" after the ship of legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, reflecting her passion for oceanic conservation and her military career with the United States Navy.

It was previously reported that the company aimed to launch the spacecraft after years of setbacks and technical errors, particularly using explosive tame and issues regarding its parachute system.

The Starliner previously launched twice without a human crew. The first launch in 2019 led to an 11-hour offset in its mission clock.

The make-up flight test in 2022, which successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), was long delayed due to the technical issues mentioned earlier. This forced Boeing to fund the launch without taxpayers' money fully.

Monday night's launch, initially scheduled for July 2023, will repeat the second flight test but with humans on board.

READ NEXT: Boeing Starliner Set to Launch Astronauts in Space After Years of Delays

Boeing's Space Launch is Critical to the Company's Fate

Since the beginning of this year, Boeing's chaotic situation in its commercial plane operations has overshadowed the company's space launch.

According to Reuters, NASA and Boeing officials said last week that they were "in total agreement" that the Starliner was prepared for a crewed flight.

NASA's space operations chief Jim Free was also cited by CBS News saying that the Starliner's crewed flight test was "an absolute critical milestone."

Meanwhile, Venture Capital Post recently reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating what it said was an issue with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner inspections. An FAA spokesperson said that the company voluntarily divulged to the aviation watchdog that they might have missed some inspection procedures to ensure that 787 wings are securely attached to the fuselage.

The original test flight crew of Starliner included former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson (commander) and active astronaut Eric Boe (pilot).

Ferguson was the commander of Atlantis in NASA's final space shuttle mission in 2011 and backed out in 2020, citing family reasons. Wilmore was Ferguson's backup commander.

Boe was removed from the crew in 2019 due to medical reasons and replaced by Michael Fincke, but Williams was eventually named pilot for the mission, and Fincke was trained as a backup pilot.

The next launch attempt is on Wednesday, May 8, with another backup date on May 10.

READ MORE: Boeing Faces New FAA Investigation After Admitting Possibly Missing Required 787 Dreamline Inspectio

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