Boeing Starliner launches for 1st time, carrying NASA astronauts to International Space Station

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Boeing Starliner launches for 1st time, carrying NASA astronauts to International Space Station
Boeing Starliner launches for 1st time, carrying NASA astronauts to International Space Station

Africa-Press – Eritrea. The Boeing Starliner launched for the first time Wednesday, carrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The launch took place at the scheduled time of 10.52 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida, after two launches were called off Saturday and in early May.

The Starliner capsule is carried by an Atlas V rocket of aerospace manufacturer United Launch Alliance, which is a joint venture between Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Lockheed Martin Space formed in December 2006.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are on board the Starliner, which witnessed years of setbacks and delays due to technical issues.

The Starliner was considered a decade ago as a competitor to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which has regularly flown NASA astronauts since 2020.

The mission is significant for Boeing as NASA will consider the Starliner spacecraft for future operations such as delivering astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station.

“This Crew Flight Test aims to certify the spacecraft for routine space travel to and from the @Space_Station,” NASA wrote on X.

United Launch Alliance said the Starliner is on course to reach the ISS in 25 hours.

“The names of Wilmore and Williams now join (John) Glenn, (Scott) Carpenter, (Wally) Schirra and (Gordon) Cooper as American astronauts to launch into space atop Atlas rockets.”

Glenn, Carpenter, Schirra and Cooper were four Mercury Seven astronauts on Atlas rockets during NASA’s Project Mercury — the first human spaceflight program of the US from 1958 – 1963.

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