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Boeing Starliner Launch Live Stream: Starliner Successfully Carries NASA Astronauts to ISS

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has successfully carried two NASA astronauts into space for the first time, marking a significant milestone for the aerospace giant. This mission, launched today, June 5, is being hailed as the ‘final test’ of the spacecraft’s capabilities before it enters regular operational service.

At precisely 10:52 a.m. EDT (1452 GMT), the Starliner lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. This launch represents the culmination of years of development and numerous delays, finally realizing Boeing’s vision of providing a reliable means of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The mission is being live-streamed, allowing space enthusiasts around the world to witness this historic event.

The Starliner spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, reached Earth orbit approximately 32 minutes after liftoff. The capsule is expected to dock with the ISS at around 12:15 p.m. EDT on June 6. This mission is not only crucial for Boeing but also for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which aims to partner with private companies to transport astronauts to low-Earth orbit.

This mission follows a series of setbacks and delays. Initially scheduled for May 6, the launch was postponed due to an issue with an oxygen valve on the Atlas V rocket. Another attempt on June 1 was aborted minutes before liftoff due to a computer glitch in the ground launch sequencer. These delays underscore the complexity and challenges of space travel, but they also highlight the resilience and dedication of the teams involved.

NASA and Boeing are providing comprehensive live coverage of the mission. The live stream began early in the morning, capturing every moment from pre-launch preparations to the successful entry into orbit. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, along with other experts, will host a post-launch press conference at 12:30 p.m. EDT to discuss the mission’s progress and future implications.

This mission is Boeing’s second test flight to the ISS and its third flight test overall. The success of this mission is pivotal as it will validate the Starliner’s transportation system, which includes the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, in-orbit operations, and safe return to Earth. If successful, this will pave the way for NASA to certify the spacecraft for regular crewed missions to the ISS.

Boeing was awarded a $4.8 billion contract by NASA in 2014 to develop the Starliner. Its competitor, SpaceX, has been operating its Dragon spacecraft successfully since 2020, having already completed nine missions for NASA. This successful crewed mission will bring Boeing closer to providing NASA with an alternative to SpaceX, ensuring that the U.S. has multiple reliable options for human spaceflight.

The CST-100 Starliner, named to signify Crew Space Transportation and the 100 km Kármán line (where space begins), is designed to carry up to seven astronauts. For NASA missions, it will typically carry four astronauts along with cargo and scientific instruments. The spacecraft’s successful operation is essential for maintaining continuous human presence aboard the ISS and for future exploration missions.

Following their arrival at the ISS, Wilmore and Williams will spend about a week testing the Starliner’s systems and subsystems. This includes verifying life support, communication systems, and manual controls, which are critical in case of emergencies. The mission will culminate in the Starliner’s return to Earth, where it will land under parachutes in the southwestern United States.

The data collected from this mission will be meticulously analyzed by NASA and Boeing teams to ensure the spacecraft’s readiness for operational missions. The successful completion of this mission will not only validate Boeing’s Starliner but also enhance the U.S.’s capability in human spaceflight, reinforcing its position in the ongoing space exploration endeavors.

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