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Boeing Starliner 1st astronaut flight: Live updates

Boeing will launch its first-ever Starliner astronaut mission for NASA as early as May 6, 2024 on a critical test flight to show its commercial space capsule is ready to ferry crews to and from the International Space Station. 

The so-called Starliner Crew Flight Test will launch on a weeklong mission to the ISS from Space Launch Complex 41 of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 6. Liftoff is set for 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 May 7 GMT), with landing set for a week later in the southwestern U.S. Follow our live updates of the Boeing Crew Flight Test mission here from launch to landing!

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Boeing Starliner crew flight test delayed to May 21

We'll have to wait a little longer for the first crew flight test of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft.

After the first launch attempt on May 8 was scrubbed due to a valve issue on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket that will launch Starliner, Boeing announced today that teams are now "targeting a launch date of no earlier than 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT) on Tuesday, May 21, to complete additional testing."

When it launches, Starliner will carry NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams to the International Space Station for a seven-day test flight. You can watch the launch live here when the time comes.

Related: Boeing's Starliner rolled off launch pad to replace 'buzzing' rocket valve (photo)

1st astronaut launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft just 3 days away

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad illuminated by spotlights at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test, Sunday, May 5, 2024 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The first crewed launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is just three days away, if current timelines hold.

Starliner's first launch attempt on May 6 was delayed due to a valve issue on its rocket ride. United Launch Alliance rolled its Atlas V rocket back to an assembly building at Cape Canaveral Space Force to replace the valve on May 8.

The next launch attempt is now scheduled for 6:16 p.m. EDT (2216 GMT) on Friday (May 17). You can watch the launch live here at Space.com.

Related: Boeing's Starliner rolled off launch pad to replace 'buzzing' rocket valve (photo)

Crewed Starliner launch delayed to no earlier than May 17, rocket rolling back for repairs

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will have to wait another 10 days for their launch to the International Space Station (ISS). United Launch Alliance (ULA) is moving forward with the replacement of a pressure regulation valve on the liquid oxygen tank in the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage, which caused a scrub of Monday night's (May 6) Starliner launch. Monday's attempt to launch Starliner's crewed flight test (CFT) was called off about two ours before the scheduled liftoff, and initially retargeted a new launch date of May 10.

Now, ULA will roll Starliner and its Atlas V launch vehicle back to the company's vertical integration facility tomorrow (May 8), where the second stage valve will be replaced, NASA announced in a blog post. The May 17 launch attempt is scheduled for an instantaneous launch window at 6:16 p.m. EDT (1016 GMT).

Starliner's first crewed launch delayed to no earlier than Friday (May 10)

It will take a few days to work through the valve issue that scrubbed the first astronaut mission of Boeing's Starliner capsule, a test mission to the International Space Station called Crew Flight Test (CFT).

CFT was supposed to launch on Monday night (May 6). That attempt was called off about two hours before the planned liftoff, however, due to an issue with a pressure regulation valve on the liquid oxygen tank in the upper stage of Starliner's rocket ride, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V. Early on Tuesday morning (May 7), NASA announced that launch teams need more time to troubleshoot the issue. The earliest that CFT could launch is now Friday night (May 10), at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT on May 11). 

ULA eyes 'buzzing' valve swap for 2nd Starliner launch try

Untied Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno told reporters late Monday that ULA engineers are studying a "buzzing" liquid oxygen pressure relief valve on the Atlas V rocket's Centaur upper stage to determine if it needs to be replaced -- a finding that will determine when the next launch try of Boeing's 1st Starliner astronaut mission could fly.

During tonight's scrubbed launch, ULA engineers detected that the valve was "buzzing" - rapidly opening and closing repeatedly - and ultimately called off the launch. While ULA has seen the valve issue on previous uncrewed satellite launches, the flight rules for Starliner's crewed test forbid cycling the valve to fix it with astronauts aboard. 

If the wonky valve needs to be replaced, the earliest Starliner could launch its Crew Flight Test mission would be Sunday, May 12, Bruno said. If not, the mission could potentially aim for Tuesday, May 7, at 10:11 p.m. ET or Friday, May 10, at 9 pm ET. 

Engineers are expected to know more on the road ahead for Starliner and the Atlas V early Tuesday.

NASA briefing on Starliner launch scrub

NASA will hold a press conference on tonight's Boeing Starliner astronaut launch scrub at 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 May 7 GMT). You'll be able to watch it live at the top of this page at start time. 

"NASA, Boeing, and United Launch Alliance will host a news conference at 10:30 p.m. EDT to discuss Monday’s scrubbed launch attempt of the agency’s Crew Flight Test due to a faulty oxygen relief valve observation on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket Centaur second stage," NASA officials wrote in an update. "NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams exited the Starliner spacecraft at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and returned to astronaut crew quarters."

 

Boeing Starliner scrubbed due to rocket valve issue

Boeing's new commercial spacecraft, Starliner, waved off its first launch attempt late tonight (May 6) due to a problem with an "oxygen relief valve on the Centaur Stage on the Atlas V," NASA posted on X. Atlas V, the flight's rocket manufactured by United Launch Alliance, has flown missions since 2002 with a 100 percent success rate, but this is its first mission with astronauts.

"The engineering team has evaluated the vehicle is not in a configuration where we can proceed with flight today," an official in Mission Control said in a callout broadcast on NASA Television roughly two hours and one minute before the scheduled launch at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0024 GMT May 7).

Read more: Boeing Starliner team delays 1st historic astronaut launch due to rocket issue

Launch scrubbed

Crew Flight Test is scrubbed for tonight, United Launch Alliance announced on its Twitter feed.

"ULA Launch Director Tom Heter III has made the decision to the launch team that launch operations will not continue tonight for #AtlasV and #Starliner."

More information to come.

Crew Flight Test astronauts enter spacecraft

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, of Crew Flight Test, have started ingress of their Boeing Starliner spacecraft. Launch is scheduled for 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT May 7) and is set to be the first Starliner mission with astronauts on board.

Crew Flight Test astronauts finish walkout

Crew Flight Test NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are now out of their quarantine facility, fully ready in their spacesuits, and doing crew walkout. They will soon be on their way to the launch pad shortly via the Airstream Astrovan II for their ride to Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Launch of the first Boeing Starliner mission with astronauts is scheduled for tonight (May 6) at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT Tuesday, May 7) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Crew Flight Test astronauts walk out to Astrovan II

Crew Flight Test astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, both of NASA and both  former U.S. Navy test pilots, are about to do their walk out to the Airstream Astrovan II for their ride to Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

Launch of the first Boeing Starliner mission with astronauts is scheduled for tonight (May 6) at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT Tuesday, May 7) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

NASA Television coverage begins

NASA's coverage of Boeing Starliner is live! You can follow all updates via our home page at Space.com. Launch is scheduled for 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT May 7). 

This mission, known as Crew Flight Test, aims to be the first to send astronauts to the International Space Station. On board are NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams.

Where will Boeing's Starliner launch will be visible from?

United Launch Alliance (ULA) released this map showing the locations from where tonight's (May 6) launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft atop a ULA Atlas V rocket will be visible. (Image credit: ULA)

Even if you can't make it out to Florida's space coast to see the first astronaut launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the rocket in flight.

United Launch Alliance (ULA), whose mighty Atlas V rocket will launch NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore on the first crew flight test of Boeing's new Starliner spacecraft, released a visibility map on X showing the locations in Florida from where the launch might be visible.

ULA's Atlas V rocket is scheduled to lift off on Monday (May 6) at 10:34 p.m. (0234 GMT on May 7) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Watch it live here courtesy of NASA starting at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT).

Related: How to watch Boeing's 1st Starliner astronaut launch tonight live online
Read more: Boeing Starliner 1st astronaut flight: Live updates

Starliner launch on track for tonight

The long awaited liftoff of Boeing's Starliner will launch this evening (May 6), carrying NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Willmore and Sunita "Sunni" Williams, on the spacecraft's first crewed flight.

Liftoff for Starliner's crewed flight test (CFT) is set for an instantaneous launch window at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT on Tuesday, May 7), from Launch Complex-41 (LC-41), at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, in Florida. The spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, and will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) May 8, at 12:48 a.m. EDT (0648 GMT).

The mission, designed as a final shake-down cruise for Starliner, will remain docked with the ISS for about 10 days while Wilmore and Williams test the spacecraft's systems, before returning to Earth.

You can watch the historic mission from launch, ISS rendezvous, and return live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA Television.

1 day until historic Boeing Starliner launch with astronauts

Launch day for the debut Boeing Starliner spacecraft is scheduled to be no earlier than tomorrow (May 6). The instantaneous launch window opens at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT on Tuesday, May 7) and you can watch the historic International Space Station (ISS) mission live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA Television.

An Atlas V rocket rolled out to its launch pad on Saturday (May 4), also Star Wars Day, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The stack includes both the United Launch Alliance booster and Starliner.

The mission, called Crew Flight Test (CFT), will send two veteran NASA astronauts and former U.S. Navy test pilots aloft: Butch Wilmore will command the mission and Suni Williams will be the pilot. The duo are quarantining at the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

Read more: Boeing Starliner rolls out to launch pad for 1st astronaut flight on May 6 (photos)

What's next for Boeing Starliner after 1st crew flight test?

Boeing Starliner makes an uncrewed approach to the International Space Station during its second test flight, on May 20, 2022. (Image credit: NASA)

The first crew flight test of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is just days away.

After years of development, NASA and Boeing are set to introduce another option for accessing low Earth orbit with Starliner. But what exactly will the Starliner program look like after the crew flight test on May 6?

Read our full coverage where we break down what's next for Starliner, including its first operational mission to the International Space Station in 2025.

Related: What's next for Boeing Starliner after its 1st crew flight test?
Read more: Their other vehicle is the Starliner: Boeing's 1st crew to ride Astrovan II to the launch pad

Boeing Starliner was delayed years. Here's why

The Boeing Starliner capsule that will fly the company’s Crew Flight Test mission to the International Space Station is shown at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in April 2023. (Image credit: Boeing/John Grant)

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is finally on the verge of making its first crewed flight. 

Starliner has had a hard road to get rated for crewed flight, including years of delays and an unsuccessful first uncrewed flight test in 2019 in which the spacecraft did not reach the ISS as planned.

So how did Starliner get here, despite its numerous setbacks? Read our full coverage to get up to speed with what makes Starliner's Crew Flight Test mission currently scheduled for Monday (May 6) at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT on May 7) such a historic moment.

Related: Boeing's Starliner is ready to fly astronauts after years of delay. Here's what took so long.

What to expect during Boeing Starliner's May 6 astronaut flight

Boeing's Starliner makes its first uncrewed approach to the International Space Station during Orbital Flight Test-2 on May 21, 2022. (Image credit: NASA)

After years of delays, it's finally here: The first crewed flight test of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft.

Starliner is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 16 at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT May 7). The event will be livestreamed here at Space.com, via NASA Television.

But what exactly will happen before, during and after the launch? Space.com's Elizabeth Howell, who will be on location for Starliner's first astronaut launch, breaks down the key milestones in terms of what to expect during Boeing Starliner's test flight on May 6.

Related: Here's what to expect during Boeing Starliner's 1st astronaut test flight on May 6

Starliner astronauts hold last press conference before May 6 launch

The first two NASA astronauts to fly aboard Boeing Starliner, Barry "Butch" Wilmore and pilot Suni Williams, will have a press conference with reporters from their quarantine at the agency's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) near Orlando, Florida. 

The virtual news conference will run live on NASA Television at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT) and will be streamed here at Space.com if possible.

The astronauts' mission, Crew Flight Test or CFT, will also see Wilmore and Williams (both former U.S. Navy test pilots) become the first humans to fly on board the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Launch is scheduled for May 6 at 10:34 p.m. EDT (0234 GMT May 7).

CFT is expected to last a bit over a week and will include a stay at the International Space Station (ISS). Alongside ground controllers, Williams and Wilmore will perform a check of all major spacecraft systems ahead of certifying Starliner for six-month excursions to space.

Boeing will then join SpaceX as a provider of astronaut spacecraft for ISS missions. Read more about why NASA wants two companies sending astronauts to space in this Space.com story.

Starliner launch schedule released for May 6 launch

NASA has released its launch schedule for Boeing Starliner's historic first flight with astronauts, which will take place no earlier than Monday (May 6) at 10:34 p.m. EDT. 

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, both former U.S. Navy test pilots, will fly their mission to the International Space Station for approximately a week to certify Starliner for future half-year missions. They will also be the first astronauts to ride aboard United Launch Alliance (ULA)'s Atlas V rocket. Liftoff will take place from NASA's Kennedy Space Center near Orlando, Florida.

Coverage will run live here at Space.com, via NASA Television. All major events for Starliner's flight are listed below. Timings for events below are in EDT.

Wednesday, May 1

1:30 p.m. – Virtual news conference at Kennedy with the flight test astronauts:

Friday, May 3
12:30 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Launch Readiness Review) with the following participants:

3:30 p.m. – NASA Social panel live stream event at Kennedy with the following participants:

Monday, May 6

6:30 p.m. – Launch coverage begins.

10:34 p.m. – Launch.

Tuesday, May 7

12 a.m. – Postlaunch news conference with the following participants:

Boeing Starliner astronauts 1 week away from launch

Butch Wilmore, commander for Crew Flight Test, outside the Boeing Starliner spacecraft during a dress rehearsal on April 26, 2024. The scorch mark on the side of the spacecraft is a harmless souvenir from re-entry during an uncrewed mission known as Orbital Flight Test, in 2019. (Image credit: Mike Fincke/NASA/X)

NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and pilot Suni Williams finished a big dress rehearsal for their Boeing Starliner mission on Friday (April 26) near their launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their quarantined training continues for a scheduled May 6 liftoff to the International Space Station, one week from today.

Williams and Wilmore also recently performed a video tour of one of their simulators, called the Boeing Mission Trainer, to demonstrate procedures for launch and landing. The simulator is housed at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Their mission, Crew Flight Test, passed its latest flight readiness review on Thursday (April 25), although as with all launches, safety and weather checks will continue all the way through the time it lifts off. The mission is expected to last about a week to certify future half-year operational excursions, starting with Starliner-1 in 2025.

Read more: Boeing Starliner astronauts conduct dress rehearsal ahead of May 6 launch (photos, video)

1st Starliner astronauts finish dress rehearsal before May 6 launch

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams finished a big dress rehearsal before their historic launch upon Boeing Starliner no earlier than May 6, agency officials said Friday (April 26) hours after the rehearsal finished.

"Wilmore and Williams completed a series of launch day milestones including suiting up, working in a flight deck simulator, and operating the same software that will be used during the launch," NASA officials wrote in a blog post on Friday (April 26).

The rehearsal took place at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida and included a countdown procedure with the Starliner spacecraft, which is on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that will carry it to the International Space Station (ISS).

The one-week Crew Flight Test passed its latest flight readiness review with NASA on Thursday (April 25). CFT, the first Starliner mission with astronauts, aims to certify the spacecraft for six-month missions to the ISS that may start as soon as 2025. Read more about Starliner being "go for launch" here at Space.com.

Starliner astronauts arrive at launch site

Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts Butch Wilmore (left) and Suni Williams, both of NASA, arrive at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida April 25 in a T-38 jet ahead of their launch. (Image credit: NASA)

The two NASA astronauts who will fly on Boeing's first crewed Starliner spacecraft have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to prepare for their historic launch to the International Space Station on May 6. 

Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test commander Butch Wilmore and pilot Sunita Williams landed their NASA T-38 supersonic jet at the space center's Launch and Landing Facility after a short flight from Houston's Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center. 

The astronauts will launch to the ISS on Boeing's Starliner and an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station near KSC. Their  one-week mission to the ISS is a final shakedown cruise for Boeing's Starliner to prove it is ready for operational NASA crew flights. At the end of the mission, Starliner will parachute to Earth and make a land-based landing in the southwestern United States.