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ULA Starliner launch scrubbed in final minutes before launch

ULA Starliner on the Atlas V rocket (image: NASA)

ULA Starliner on the Atlas V rocket (image: NASA)

The launch of Boeing and Lockheed Martins Starliner capsule was scrubbed in the final few minutes before launch yesterday due to a ground support equipment issue which has also led to the cancellation of its back-up launch slot due today.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Starliner was due to carry two astronauts, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, to the International Space Station (ISS) as the final part of its certification process to become a regular transport system for NASA.

ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX which is already regularly transporting astronauts and cargo to the ISS using its Dragon capsule.

NASA is expected to announced a new launch date in the coming days.

The Starliner capsule is propelled into space using ULA’s Atlas V rocket system which has been plagued with problems with its Helium systems including leaks caused by problematic valves.

Under its contract with NASA, ULA will fly six missions to the ISS using Starliner which returns to earth using a parachute and airbag system.

Once it does launch, Starliner will be carrying out a number of tests on its navigation and maonouvering systems in the 25 hour trip to the ISS

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