Boeing's Day Just Got Worse: First Crewed Launch Of Starliner Spacecraft Scrubbed

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 07, 2024 - 01:20 AM

Update (2120ET): Its not been a great day for Boeing.

After a wave of whistleblowers and a new FAA probe, the planemaker has abandoned its plans for its first crewed launch of the Starliner spacecraft "out of an abundance of caution," just two hours before planned takeoff.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) cites an issue with the oxygen relief valve on the Atlas V rocket for scrubbing the launch.

Officials involved in the planned launch had said repeatedly that they wouldn't hesitate to postpone the flight if any risks to safety emerged. Bill Nelson, the administrator for NASA and a former astronaut himself, reiterated that point Monday evening, saying the agency's first priority is safety.

"We go when we're ready," he said in a post on X.

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Seven years behind schedule and more than a billion-dollar cost overrun, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is finally atop an Atlas V rocket at Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. If all goes according to plan, the launch will occur tonight at 2234 ET. 

Boeing's Starliner aims to be big defense's answer to Elon Musk's SpaceX Crew Dragon, a spacecraft that has already achieved orbit 13 times. Fifty astronauts, cosmonauts, and civilians have flown into orbit via a Crew Dragon, with 12 flights to the International Space Station. 

At a preflight briefing last week, astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore told reporters safety is essential on the crewed test flight:

"Why do we think it's as safe as possible? We wouldn't be standing here if we didn't." 

Wilmore continued:

"Do we expect it to go perfectly? This is the first human flight of the spacecraft. I'm sure we'll find things out. That's why we do this. This is a test flight."

Meanwhile, Musk chimed in on X about Starliner being seven years behind schedule:

Although Boeing got $4.2 billion to develop an astronaut capsule and SpaceX only got $2.6 billion, SpaceX finished 4 years sooner.

Note, the crew capsule design of Dragon 2 has almost nothing in common with Dragon 1.

Too many non-technical managers at Boeing.

SpaceX has proved that the bloated military-industrial complex cannot deliver next-generation technology to the market quickly enough and under budget.

Watch the launch event live here: