Space: Another Delay for First Starliner Astronauts Stranded on ISS

Two veterans were the first to reach the International Space Station on Boeing's new launch vehicle, which, however, had a few problems

The stay at the International Space Station (ISS) of Butch Wilmore, 61, and Sunita Williams, 58, US NASA veterans and the first astronauts to reach the space base on a Boeing Starliner spacecraft, was expected to last about a week.

A new – the second American – launcher, capable of returning people to space after Elon Musk’s Space X Dragon 2, left Florida on June 5 after the Boeing program was delayed for several years. The return to Earth was initially scheduled after 8 days, but some anomalies were discovered during the journey, particularly engine problems and helium leaks. So, the return date for the two astronauts was moved to June 13, then to June 18, then to June 22 and 26, but this last date will also not be honored, and a new “x-day” will be set “for later.”

According to NASA’s explanation, this new postponement is due to a desire to “take the necessary time” to better study the problems that have arisen. Of course, Boeing, after the various problems recently experienced with the 737 Max airplane following several fatal crashes of the same model in 2018 and 2019, resulting in 346 deaths, wants to take every precaution possible. Meanwhile, Space X has already made its first manned flight in 2020 and has 8 round trips with astronauts to the ISS under its belt.