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NASA and Boeing launch their first manned Starliner spacecraft bound for the International Space Station

NASA administrator Bill Nelson called the launch “historic.”

Despega el Starliner desde el cabo Cañaveral

(Cordon Press)

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Boeing and NASA launched their Starliner spacecraft this Wednesday with two crew members on board and bound for the International Space Station. After several extensions and attempts, the spacecraft was successfully launched into orbit. It is scheduled to dock autonomously at the international station's Harmony module port this Thursday at 12:15 p.m. East Coast time.

The Starliner spacecraft took off at 10:52 from Cape Canaveral, powered by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. This is Starliner’s first flight with passengers on board the Boeing spacecraft in collaboration with NASA. The two astronauts are Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson described the takeoff as "historic."

"Boeing’s Starliner marks a new chapter of American exploration. Human spaceflight is a daring task – but that’s why it’s worth doing. It’s an exciting time for NASA, our commercial partners, and the future of exploration. Go Starliner, Go Butch and Suni!" said Bill Nelson in the statement from the space agency.

During the Starliner flight, Boeing will oversee a series of automated maneuvers of the spacecraft from its mission control center in Houston. NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the agency's Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center in Houston.

These flight controls detected three helium leaks in the Starliner's propulsion system on Wednesday night leading into Thursday. As a result of this, the affected valves were closed. From the ground, it was reported that all three valves should be reopened in time for docking. They do not currently pose a major threat for the success of the mission.