NASA’s Starliner Spacecraft Experiences Technical Issues, Delaying Return to Earth

NASA's Starliner spacecraft is experiencing technical issues, including helium leaks and thruster problems.

  • NASA’s Starliner spacecraft is experiencing technical issues, including helium leaks and thruster problems.
  • The issues are delaying the return of astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore to Earth.
  • NASA and Boeing are working to resolve the issues, and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon may be used as a backup option.

NASA’s Starliner spacecraft, currently docked at the International Space Station (ISS), is facing technical issues that are delaying its return to Earth. The spacecraft, which launched on June 5, was originally scheduled to return on June 13, but issues with its expendable propulsion system have arisen. The system, which is needed to back the capsule away from the ISS and position it to dive through Earth’s atmosphere, has experienced helium leaks and thruster problems.
Astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore are on board the spacecraft, and NASA is working to resolve the issues as soon as possible. The spacecraft can stay docked at the ISS for up to 45 days, and backup systems can extend that duration to 72 days if necessary. This gives engineers ample time to figure out and resolve the technical issues.
NASA and Boeing are working together to fix the problems, and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon may be used as a backup option to rescue the astronauts if needed. Despite the issues, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich is confident that the Starliner can safely bring back the astronauts once the issues are resolved.
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