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NASA and Boeing postpone launch of Starliner spacecraft

2021-08-03 19:04 by
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Boeing on Tuesday scrubbed the launch of its CST-100 Starliner capsule to the International Space Station due to an unexpected system glitch, in the latest setback following the vehicle's botched 2019 debut.

The Starliner was scheduled to launch from Florida Friday afternoon and dock with the ISS on Saturday. But when a new laboratory module from Russia, called Nauka, docked at the space station Thursday morning, the module's thrusters began unexpectedly firing.

Though NASA confirmed no one was in danger and ground teams regained control of the space station after about an hour, Starliner's take off was delayed in order to allow mission control to "continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Nauka module and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival" and liftoff was rescheduled for Tuesday.

"We're disappointed with today's outcome and the need to reschedule our Starliner launch," said John Vollmer, the program's manager. "Human spaceflight is a complex, precise and unforgiving endeavor, and Boeing and NASA teams will take the time they need to ensure the safety and integrity of the spacecraft and the achievement of our mission objectives."

A planned backup date is set for Wednesday, August 4, with liftoff set for 16:57 GMT. That could shift depending on what the engineers are able to troubleshoot with the spacecraft.

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