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Boeing and NASA decide to move forward with historic crewed launch of new spacecraft
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After years of delays and a dizzying array of setbacks during test flights, Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is finally set to make its inaugural crewed launch.

The mission is on track to take off from Florida as soon as May 6, carrying NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station, marking what could be a historic and long-awaited victory for the beleaguered Starliner program.
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“Design and development is hard — particularly with a human space vehicle,” said Mark Nappi, vice president and Starliner program manager at Boeing, during a Thursday news briefing. “There’s a number of things that were surprises along the way that we had to overcome. … It certainly made the team very, very strong. I’m very proud of how they’ve overcome every single issue that we’ve encountered and gotten us to this point.”

Boeing and NASA officials made the decision Thursday to move forward with the launch attempt in less than two weeks. However, Ken Bowersox, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, noted that May 6 is “not a magical date.”
“We’ll launch when we’re ready,” he said.

If successful, the Starliner will join SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft in making routine trips to the space station, keeping the orbiting outpost fully staffed with astronauts from NASA and its partner space agencies.

Such a scenario — with both Crew Dragon and Starliner flying regularly — is one for which the US space agency has long waited.

“This is history in the making,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said of the upcoming Starliner mission during a March 22 news conference. “We’re now in the golden era of space exploration.”

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