The takeoff of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has been postponed until May 17

The takeoff of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has been postponed until May 17

The first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has been postponed until May 17, NASA announced Tuesday, a day after it decided to postpone just before liftoff due to a technical problem.

The US space agency wrote in a press release that the lift-off attempt could take place “no later than 6:16 p.m., Friday, May 17,” pending the repair process.

This postponement strikes a program that was characterized by a series of setbacks, between unpleasant surprises and successive postponements.

On Monday, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft was scheduled to finally take off for the first time, with astronauts on board, bound for the International Space Station, thus joining the very special club of spaceships that have transported humans.

But about two hours before the scheduled launch, while the two American astronauts were strapped into the capsule, the liftoff was aborted: an anomaly was identified in the valve of the Atlas V rocket that should propel the Starliner capsule into orbit.

Getty Images via AFP

In the evening, the take-off date was mentioned as Friday, May 10.

But further analysis showed that the valve in question actually needed to be replaced, a task that would require returning the missile to its hangar.

NASA said that astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sonny Williams will remain isolated in the meantime.

Boeing is playing a big role in this final test mission, which should allow it to prove its ship is safe before beginning regular missions to the International Space Station (ISS) — four years behind SpaceX.

For NASA, which ordered this vehicle ten years ago, the risks are also high: having a second vehicle, in addition to the SpaceX vehicle, to transport American astronauts, would make it possible to better respond to “various emergency scenarios,” according to For example, a problem occurs on a ship.

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