Boeing Starliner capsule’s first crewed test flight postponed minutes before launch

With under four minutes left in the countdown, engineers at the Control Center called a hold to the launch of the ULA Atlas V rocket on Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Saturday, June 1. UPI-Yonhap

A second attempt at launching Boeing’s new Starliner space capsule on its inaugural test flight with NASA astronauts on board was automatically halted with minutes to go before liftoff by a computer-abort system, mission officials said.

The scrubbed launch, capping a string of 11th-hour technical issues that ground teams worked through and resolved earlier in the countdown, adds another indefinite delay for the highly anticipated and much-delayed test flight.

The next available launch window for the mission is Sunday at about noon local time, but NASA said in a statement on 카지노사이트킹 Saturday that mission officials would forgo that opportunity, without setting a new date. The next available chances to launch are Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

“We got really close today,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program.

“I know it’s a little disappointing, we were all excited. This is kind of the way spaceflight is,” he said.

The postponement on Saturday was triggered by computers on the Atlas V rocket’s launchpad that coordinate the final moments before liftoff. The Starliner capsule appeared healthy, officials said.

At a news conference after the postponement, executives from Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA), the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that owns the Atlas V rocket, hoped a review of the computers Saturday night would allow for a launch on Sunday.

“We’ll take either that opportunity or the next one to come,” Mark Nappi, a Boeing vice president, told reporters.

The decision to forgo the launch opportunity on Sunday, NASA’s statement said, would “give the team additional time” to assess the issue.

The CST-200 Starliner’s first crewed voyage to the International Space Station (ISS), with two astronauts aboard, remains a key milestone for Boeing as it scrambles to gain a greater share of lucrative NASA business now dominated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The gumdrop-shaped Starliner capsule had stood ready for blast-off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perched atop the Atlas V.

But with three minutes and 50 seconds left in the countdown clock after the final “go” for launch was given by the flight director, a ground system computer triggered an automatic abort command that shut down the launch sequence, according to mission officials.

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