Two NASA astronauts stuck in space are upbeat and optimistic despite the numerous delays in their return to Earth via Boeing’s Starliner.

The duo — Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore — arrived at the International Space Station via the Starliner on June 6 after a series of delays that postponed the craft’s launch by a month.

While they were supposed to stay for only eight to 10 days, they have been stuck on the space station for over a month now, with no return date scheduled.

But they remain in good spirits, telling reporters on a press call on Wednesday that they were certain they would be home safe.

When a CBS reporter asked if the astronauts were confident the Starliner would get them home safely, Wilmore said: “We’re absolutely confident.”

“We’ve practiced a lot,” Williams said, responding to a similar question by the Associated Press. “I have a real good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home.”

The astronauts’ return was delayed on June 21 to assess issues on board and make time for two spacewalks on June 24 and July 2.

The delay came after the crew detected five helium leaks on board the Starliner. Helium supports the spacecraft’s reaction control system thrusters, which enables them to fire up.

But issues like the ones they’re facing are to be expected, Wilmore said, calling human spaceflight a “tough business.”

“There have been multiple issues with every spacecraft that’s ever been designed,” he added.

“I’ll just reiterate again: This is a test flight. We were expecting to find some things. And so we are finding stuff, and we’re correcting it, making changes and updates with our control team,” Williams said.

Williams said they weren’t complaining about having extra time on board. Since they had both been on the ISS before, it felt like “coming back home.”

“We are having a great time here on ISS,” Williams said. “It feels good to float around.”

Williams, who NASA selected as an astronaut in 1998, spent 322 days in space before the Starliner project. Wilmore, a NASA astronaut since 2000, spent 178 days in space before the Starliner launch.

Starliner is the first instance of Boeing sending up a crewed spacecraft to the ISS and represents the company’s major push to break into the commercial human-spaceflight business.

But Boeing lags behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which sent astronauts to space since 2020.

Boeing and SpaceX were the two American companies selected by NASA in 2014 to explore commercial space transport.

Representatives for NASA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.



Read the full article here

Share.
Leave A Reply

© 2024 Brilliance Financials. All Rights Reserved.