Starliner NASA launch: A chance for Boeing reset after a tide of bad headlines

Boeing’s first spacecraft to carry a human crew is set to launch on Saturday. If all goes as planned, the mission will bring astronauts to the International Space Station and prove to NASA that Boeing can be a reliable transportation partner. 

It’s been a long journey to get to this point: NASA has rescheduled the launch multiple times this month amid technical concerns. That follows years of delays and costs running $1 billion over budget. 

Why We Wrote This

Boeing’s brand has taken hits from several troubling incidents. On Saturday, the company plans to launch a crewed spaceflight to prove it can successfully transport astronauts to the space station.

Safely transporting astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams is a crucial priority. A successful launch of the Starliner capsule would also provide NASA with a second U.S. spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the space station. 

Boeing could use a public relations win right now after a string of negative news about its commercial aviation business. 

Boeing and NASA will learn from this test flight, says Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, who notes a successful launch would “build trust with our customers and our employees.”

Boeing’s first spacecraft to carry a human crew is set to launch Saturday from Florida. If all goes as planned, the mission will bring astronauts to the International Space Station and prove to NASA that Boeing can be a reliable transportation partner. 

The Starliner capsule is scheduled to take off as soon as 12:25 p.m. EDT on June 1. It’s been a long journey to get to this point: NASA has rescheduled the launch five times this month amid technical concerns. That follows years of delays and costs running $1 billion over budget. 

Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita Williams are expected to test the spacecraft’s systems while at the space station for about seven days, before landing in the southwestern United States. 

Why We Wrote This

Boeing’s brand has taken hits from several troubling incidents. On Saturday, the company plans to launch a crewed spaceflight to prove it can successfully transport astronauts to the space station.

A successful launch would be a milestone moment for Boeing and help solidify a new era of commercial space flight. The Starliner is the second of two contracts NASA awarded to private companies to shuttle astronauts to the space station. 

Why is this Starliner launch important?

Safely transporting Mr. Wilmore and Ms. Williams is a crucial priority. A successful launch would also provide NASA with a second U.S. spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to and from the space station. 

“It was really important for the nation to have a strategy where we would have multiple companies with the capability to take humans to outer space,” says Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.


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