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Boeing’s first crewed Starliner launch delayed again over computer issues

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Boeing, NASA, and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) are now targeting a June 2nd, 12:03PM ET crewed launch for Boeing’s Starliner capsule after scrubbing it less than 4 minutes before liftoff on June 1st. If the Sunday launch happens, it will be the first time Starliner, which has faced multiple delays, will have flown with human beings on board.

NASA says the ULA is currently investigating why a computer, called a ground launch sequencer, didn’t enter “the correct operational configuration,” triggering an automatic hold. During a press conference afterward, ULA CEO Tory Bruno said the issue was that one of three redundant launch sequencers, which are used to control things like releasing connections to the rocket prior to launch, was slow to respond. He added that if a fix is “as simple as replacing a card,” the launch will happen on the 2nd. Otherwise, the launch will move back to June 5th or 6th.

The flight is meant to take two US astronauts — Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams — up to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will dock (NASA will live stream this, as well). Wilmore and Williams will stay on the station for a week to carry out testing of Starliner and its subsystems prior to NASA’s final certification of the craft for rotational missions to ISS.

Starliner is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which involves the agency working with private companies to develop novel spacecraft. SpaceX is also part of this program and has launched NASA astronauts since 2020.

Update June 1st, 2024, 3:16PM ET: Updated to reflect that the launch was scrubbed and that there is a new launch target date.

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