Boeing's Starliner capsule is on its way to the International Space Station

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This third attempt of the year will have Finally was successful: after the successful takeoff of the Atlas V rocket at 4:52 p.m. (Paris time) from Cape Canaveral (Florida), Boeing's Starliner capsule is on its way to the International Space Station. On board, veterans Sunita Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore should automatically dock with the orbital station on June 6, 2024 at 6:15 p.m. (Paris time).

Three helium leaks to deplore

This first manned flight of the Starliner, however, suffers from some problems. Already, during the takeoff attempt on May 6, a helium leak had been spotted on one of the capsule's 28 thrusters. En route to the ISS, this helium leak seems to have gotten worse, not limited to the propellant which was already failing before departure. Two new leaks have been identified since Starliner was placed into orbit. Two of these three, but a few helium valves have been closed and the capsule remains stable for the time being.

Starliner will remain docked at the ISS for a week and will not return to Earth before June 14. If this qualification flight goes well, the first commercial mission for NASA could take place in 2025.

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