Boeing’s Crewed Starliner Launch is Now Set for June 1st

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Key Takeaways

  • NASA and Boeing have rescheduled the crewed Starliner launch to June 1st.
  • The two had postponed the mission indefinitely just days earlier.
  • There are additional launch windows if this one fails.

NASA and Boeing have tentatively scheduled the first crewed Starliner launch for June 1st at 12:25PM Eastern, days after delaying liftoff indefinitely.

There are backup launch windows on June 2nd, 5th, and 6th. A press conference to discuss progress is slated for May 24th at 11AM Eastern and will include both NASA officials as well as executives from Boeing and rocket maker United Launch Alliance.

NASA and Boeing said they were conducting a follow-up analysis of Starliner’s propulsion system to understand how the helium leak behind the delay might affect “return scenarios.” A flight test readiness review is also expected nearer the launch to see what progress has been made since the scrubbed attempt on May 6th.

The early May launch was supposed to represent the culmination of years of work, but a fault with the oxygen relief valve on the host rocket led the mission team to cancel the spaceflight two hours before liftoff. There was also a helium leak at the time, and that led to NASA and Boeing pushing blastoff first to May 21st, and then to May 25th.

Starliner was initially supposed to carry people into space in 2017. The first successful uncrewed mission, which carried a “Rosie the Rocketeer” dummy to the International Space Station, took place in 2022.

The human-occupied launch is critical for Boeing as it’s necessary before the company can use Starliner to carry people to the ISS and otherwise participate fully in the Commercial Crew Program.  It’s also vital for NASA, as Boeing is supposed to play a key role in crewed ISS missions over the next few years.