NASA selects new date for Starliner’s crewed return

Boeing Space’s Starliner crew capsule is scheduled to depart from the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, June 25, NASA announced. Starliner carried NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the ISS on its first crewed mission on June 6, after launching on a ULA Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida the previous day. Starliner and its two crew members were only scheduled to stay at the ISS for about a week, but it was later decided to extend the mission until June 22 to conduct engine tests and evaluate the performance of Starliner’s reaction control engine. Of these, the spacecraft’s arrival at the ISS earlier this month revealed that there was a problem with the spacecraft’s final approach to the ISS. These tests were conducted over the weekend, and the mission team supporting Starliner’s flight will continue to review the resulting data.

A total of five of Starliner’s 28 reaction control engines failed on final approach, although four of them eventually functioned again. The reaction control engines help maintain the proper orientation of the crew capsule and play a key role as Starliner re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA has now decided to keep Starliner in orbit for a few more days, aiming to undock the Starliner space shuttle by Tuesday, June 25 at 10:10 pm ET.

Assuming NASA follows the latest departure schedule, Williams and Wilmore are scheduled to land on the desert grounds of White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico on Wednesday, June 26 at approximately 4:51 am ET. This will be the first time that a US capsule carrying astronauts will reach land; previous landings have been on water.

This will be Starliner’s second rendezvous with the space station, with no astronauts on board during its first visit in 2022.

This is how a NASA astronaut will swab the ISS exterior for microbes

Two astronauts will soon depart for NASA’s first spacewalk on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024.

Today, Americans Tracy C. Dyson and Matt Dominik will perform maintenance tasks, as well as wipe down the exterior surfaces of the station’s Destiny and Quest modules to carry out analyses to determine whether microorganisms released from the station’s vents are present in an external and highly hostile environment that could survive in microgravity.

The results will help scientists assess the possibility of finding life elsewhere outside Earth and help confirm whether all life found in places like Mars really came from Mars or was brought from Earth by the mission.

As the video shows, the process begins with Dyson, identified by the red stripes on his suit, placing the microorganism handle on the caddy of his portable workstation. They will then travel to a vent in the vacuum suction system to collect the first sample.

Dyson will then head to the station’s carbon dioxide vent to collect the second sample. Finally, an additional sample will be taken from the airlock area where the astronauts leave the orbital facility for their spacewalk.

The pair will also recover communications equipment that was damaged during the spacewalk.

This is Dyson’s fourth spacewalk and Dominic’s first. Both astronauts arrived at the space station in March and stayed there for six months.

NASA will broadcast a live stream of the entire spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours. Coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, but the spacewalk itself won’t begin until about 8 a.m. ET.

Content will include footage from multiple cameras, including those mounted on the astronauts’ helmets. You’ll also hear live communications between Dyson, Dominic and Mission Control, as well as commentary from NASA officials explaining what’s going on.

Boeing Starliner successfully launches carrying two NASA astronauts

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft finally launched today, June 5th. It lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This is the third launch of the spacecraft carrying two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft launched at 10:52 a.m. Eastern time aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Starliner is carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, and is scheduled to arrive on Thursday to dock with the ISS. You can watch the launch below:

“The two brave NASA astronauts are well on their way to the historic first test flight of a brand new spacecraft,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “Boeing’s Starliner marks a new chapter in American spaceflight. Human spaceflight is a bold undertaking, but that’s what makes it worth it. This is an exciting time for NASA, our commercial partners and the future of space travel. Go Starliner, go Butch and Suni!”

This is Starliner’s first manned test flight, and its development over the past five years has been difficult and has encountered problems on multiple occasions. Several launch attempts were made last month, but the launch was called off after problems including rocket malfunctions and a helium leak from the spacecraft.

However, as you can see in this footage, Starliner launched as planned with a soft launch.

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