Watch live as Boeing attempts to launch the first tense crew to the International Space Station

Despite numerous delays and technical hiccups, Boeing is preparing to launch the first crewed test flight to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of its agreement with NASA.

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to launch on Saturday, June 1 at 12:25 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The crew capsule will ride aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket and carry NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sonny Williams to the space station and back.

NASA will broadcast the launch live on its screen website And the space agency’s YouTube website channelYou can also listen via the recap below. Launch coverage will begin at 8:15 a.m. ET. Boeing will also broadcast the launch live through its website website.

NASA Live: The official broadcast of NASA TV

It’s been an arduous journey to get to this point, and frankly, the upcoming launch has us very anxious. The company originally targeted May 6 for the Starliner’s liftoff but a last-minute anomaly occurred with one of the Atlas V rocket’s pressure valves. The manned test flight has been postponed to May 17. But just days before launch, the Starliner teams did just that A small helium leak was detected In the spacecraft’s service module, prompting them to postpone the launch to May 21 before postponing it indefinitely.

Earlier this week, Boeing announced that it had decided to move forward with flying crew astronauts aboard the leaky Starliner spacecraft without resolving the issue. Boeing Vice President Mark Nappi said fixing the leak would require disassembling the Starliner spacecraft at its factory, AFP. mentioned. Instead, Starliner teams will monitor the leak before launch on Saturday.

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Boeing flight test crew It is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and is intended to transport crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). $4.3 billion Contracting with the space agency. NASA’s other commercial partner, SpaceX, has launched its eighth crew to the space station.

Starliner’s first unmanned test flight in 2019 It managed to reach space, but a software automation glitch caused the spacecraft to burn excess fuel, preventing it from reaching the International Space Station. The Starliner misjudged its position in space due to a malfunction caused by a faulty mission expiration timer.

The failed first flight prompted NASA to call for a second test flight of the empty spacecraft before the crew boarded. In May 2022, Boeing completed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2)This is the second unmanned test flight of the Starliner spacecraft, paving the way for a manned test flight. But OFT-2 suffered from some hiccups, including The thruster used in the orbital maneuver failed.

The launch of the Boeing Starliner was initially scheduled for February 2023, then postponed to late April, and finally rescheduled for July 21, 2023. However, a few weeks before takeoff, the company announced that it was. Undo the launch attempt To address newly discovered issues with the crew vehicle, including a mile-long flammable tape that had to be manually removed.

Despite all these failures, NASA remains committed to the Starliner program and has two commercial partners flying astronauts into low Earth orbit. With the leaky spacecraft, Saturday’s launch is a major test of NASA’s relationship with its entourage of private companies.

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