Boeing Starliner astronaut says the spacecraft is ‘truly amazing’ despite malfunctions and delays

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Science

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft and its crew have been in space for more than a month — much longer than the weeklong stay initially expected.The vehicle has suffered technical issues that have delayed its return indefinitely, and there’s still no return date on the horizon.But the two astronauts piloting this historic test mission mostly spoke favorably about the vehicle that carried them to the International Space Station, marking the inaugural crewed flight of the Boeing-built spacecraft.“Launch was spectacular. I mean, truly amazing,” Butch Wilmore, one of two NASA astronauts helming this mission, said in a Wednesday news briefing. “And then we got into our operational capabilities checks, and the spacecraft performed unbelievably well.”Wilmore praised the vehicle’s precision control. But he also said that when several thrusters unexpectedly failed as the Starliner approached its docking port at the International Space Station, he felt the thrust was “degraded.”“But thankfully, we had practiced and we had gotten certified for manual control, and so we took over manual control for over an hour,” Wilmore added.In addition to those thruster issues, Starliner experienced helium leaks on the first leg of the trip. As of Wednesday morning, NASA and Boeing officials had not yet revealed whether they’ve determined the root cause of those problems.To learn more about the thruster issues, the Starliner team is conducting tests on the ground in New Mexico.Starliner’s inaugural cr …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnSign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft and its crew have been in space for more than a month — much longer than the weeklong stay initially expected.The vehicle has suffered technical issues that have delayed its return indefinitely, and there’s still no return date on the horizon.But the two astronauts piloting this historic test mission mostly spoke favorably about the vehicle that carried them to the International Space Station, marking the inaugural crewed flight of the Boeing-built spacecraft.“Launch was spectacular. I mean, truly amazing,” Butch Wilmore, one of two NASA astronauts helming this mission, said in a Wednesday news briefing. “And then we got into our operational capabilities checks, and the spacecraft performed unbelievably well.”Wilmore praised the vehicle’s precision control. But he also said that when several thrusters unexpectedly failed as the Starliner approached its docking port at the International Space Station, he felt the thrust was “degraded.”“But thankfully, we had practiced and we had gotten certified for manual control, and so we took over manual control for over an hour,” Wilmore added.In addition to those thruster issues, Starliner experienced helium leaks on the first leg of the trip. As of Wednesday morning, NASA and Boeing officials had not yet revealed whether they’ve determined the root cause of those problems.To learn more about the thruster issues, the Starliner team is conducting tests on the ground in New Mexico.Starliner’s inaugural cr …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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