Sunita Williams Set for Third Space Mission with NASA’s Starliner Launch Today

After several delays, NASA and Boeing on Thursday gave the green light to the Starliner’s maiden flight, which will carry humans to space. The spacecraft, aimed at transporting NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Indian-origin Sunita Williams to the International Space Station (ISS), is expected to launch on June 1. The mission will utilize United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

“NASA and Boeing teams polled ‘go’ to proceed with plans to launch the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station at 12:25 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 1,” the company stated. The mission officials have “verified launch readiness, including all systems, facilities, and teams supporting the test flight,” it added.

This approval comes after a historic launch planned for May 7 was scrubbed two hours before liftoff due to a valve issue on the upper stage of the Atlas V rocket. Since then, the mission has faced delays, with planned launches on May 10, May 21, and May 25 being postponed due to a helium leak.

The company has also noted backup launch opportunities on June 2, June 5, and June 6. NASA astronauts Wilmore and Williams returned to Kennedy Space Center from Houston on May 28. They will remain in quarantine at the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building until Saturday’s launch, Boeing reported.

The Crew Flight Test will send the astronauts to the ISS for about a week before returning to Earth aboard the reusable crew capsule. The Starliner mission aims to carry astronauts and cargo for future NASA missions to low Earth orbit and beyond.

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