Last-Minute Glitch Halts Boeing’s Starliner Astronaut Launch

Boeing’s latest attempt to send astronauts into space faced a setback due to a last-minute issue. Two NASA astronauts were secured in the Starliner capsule when the countdown was stopped at three minutes and 50 seconds by the computer system overseeing the final moments before liftoff.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. Photo from NASA/Joel Kowsky

With insufficient time to diagnose the problem, the launch was aborted. Launch controllers are currently evaluating the data to determine the cause, with the possibility of another attempt as soon as Sunday. Technicians swiftly assisted astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams out of the capsule on the fully fueled Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, reopening the hatch within an hour of the aborted launch.

This marked the second attempt, following a delay on May 6 due to leak checks and rocket repairs. NASA seeks a backup to SpaceX, which has been flying astronauts since 2020. Boeing’s first crewed launch was expected around the same time but faced severe software issues during its uncrewed test flight in 2019.

NASA, Boeing, and United Launch Alliance will host a news conference at 3 p.m. EDT to discuss the aborted launch.