NASA Astronauts Launch on Historic Test Flight Aboard Boeing Starliner

NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams made history as the first to journey to orbit aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:52 am ET. Their 25-hour trek to the International Space Station (ISS) on an Atlas V rocket marks a significant milestone in the NASA-Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT).

“This crew flight test represents the beginning of a new era of space exploration as we watch astronauts Wilmore and Williams put Boeing’s Starliner through its paces on the way to the International Space Station,” stated Ted Colbert, President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. He added, “This is a great start. We look forward to getting the astronauts safely to the space station and back home.”

The mission is notable not only for its inaugural use of the Starliner but also for the astronaut’s experience of microgravity en route to the ISS. Wilmore and Williams are tasked with a series of flight test objectives, including the challenge of manually flying the spacecraft.

The Starliner is also transporting approximately 760 pounds (345 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS. Once docked, the astronauts are scheduled to spend about a week aboard the station before their return journey to Earth. The success of this mission is crucial for Boeing and NASA as they aim to certify Starliner for future long-duration missions to the ISS.

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