Stranded in space: Nasa astronauts confident of safe return despite recent failures in Boeing’s Starliner capsule



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Nasa astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, who were supposed to have returned to Earth weeks ago, expressed confidence on Wednesday that Boeing’s space capsule, Starliner, will bring them home safely despite recent malfunctions.
Wilmore and Williams, the first people to ride Boeing’s new Starliner capsule, launched into space early last month. However, their mission encountered significant challenges, including leaks and thruster failures, which nearly derailed their arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) and extended their stay beyond the planned duration.
During their first news conference from orbit, the astronauts conveyed optimism about their return once thruster testing on Earth is completed.Both expressed no complaints about the unexpected extension of their mission, emphasizing their enjoyment in assisting the station crew.
“I have a real good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home, no problem,” Williams assured reporters.
The duo rocketed into orbit on June 5 as part of a test flight initially slated to last eight days. Their extended mission has provided additional opportunities to collaborate with the ISS crew and further test the Starliner’s capabilities.
Nasa commissioned the development of the Starliner and SpaceX Dragon capsules a decade ago, investing billions of dollars in each company to facilitate astronaut flights to and from the ISS. SpaceX successfully launched its first crewed taxi flight in 2020, while Boeing’s inaugural crew flight faced numerous delays due to software and other technical issues.
Despite these setbacks, Wilmore and Williams remain confident in the Starliner’s ability to safely return them to Earth, highlighting the rigorous testing and advancements made since the program’s inception.





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