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NASA scrubs Boeing's Starliner crew launch minutes before liftoff

Cape Canaveral, Fla. — Boeing's first Starliner flight with astronauts on board was called off in the final minutes on Saturday. NASA said the launch was scrubbed due to an automatic hold of the ground launch sequencer. 

The launch sequencer performs all the actions during the terminal countdown to launch, according to a NASA spokesperson. It's responsible for nearly all the launch commit criteria during the final phases of launch countdowns.

"The crew are safe and will head back to crew quarters," NASA shared while astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams waited in the Starliner capsule for their team to open the hatch and get them out. 

Wilmore and Williams would have been carried by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket to the International Space Station. They had planned on docking at the ISS on June 2. They would have stayed there 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.

"We are going to test everything out, then head back home," shared Williams days ahead of the launch. 

Wilmore joined NASA in 2000 and has flown to space twice previously on the Space Shuttle and Russia’s Soyuz. Before NASA, Wilmore was a U.S. Navy pilot.

Williams was selected by NASA in 1998 and has also flown to space twice before, on the Space Shuttle and then the Soyuz. Williams was also a Navy pilot like Wilmore before joining the space agency.

Watch more: NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, on YouTube or on the agency's website.

Screenshot 2024-06-01 at 10.30.13 AM

The test drive should have happened years ago, according to some industry experts. But problems kept piling up, most recently a leak that went unnoticed until the first launch attempt with a crew in early May.

NASA wants a backup to SpaceX, which has been flying astronauts for four years.

While CFT would have been the first crewed flight on Starliner, it would have also marked the first flight of humans on the ULA Atlas V rocket, as well as the first crewed flight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station since Apollo 7 in 1968.

When it does launch, Starliner will join SpaceX’s Crew Dragon in the rotation of vehicles contracted to bring crews to and from the ISS for long-duration stays.




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