NASA says the first crewed flight of the Boeing Starliner has been postponed again. Here’s why

The first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner to the International Space Station is facing another delay due to a technical glitch, NASA announced Friday.

Initially set for Tuesday in Florida, the launch has now been rescheduled for May 25 to address a helium leak linked to a service module on top of the rocket, AFP reported.

Earlier this month, a Starliner launch faced a last-minute postponement after another technical glitch with astronauts already tied up.

The extra time allows teams to further evaluate the helium leak, NASA said on its website.

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Two astronauts, Butch Willmore and Sunita Williams, meanwhile, are staying in Houston, Texas until the mission is ready.

This latest setback adds to the already long wait for the much-anticipated work, which has been plagued by delays for years. With safety concerns surrounding its commercial aircraft division, which has been a leader in aerospace innovation for more than a century, the timing couldn’t be more challenging for Boeing.

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For NASA, the success of the Starliner mission is critical to certifying a second commercial vehicle to carry crews to the International Space Station. SpaceX, under the leadership of Elon Musk, reached this milestone in 2020 with its Dragon capsule, effectively ending nearly a decade of reliance on Russian rockets after the end of the space shuttle program.

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(with inputs from AFP)

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