Boeing, NASA scrub launch of Starliner once again minutes before takeoff

Boeing and NASA were forced to call off the first crewed launch of the company’s Starliner spacecraft yet again with just minutes left before takeoff.

The Starliner, with NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams on board, was scheduled to take off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Saturday afternoon but was told to hold with 3 minutes and 50 seconds remaining in the countdown.

The reason for the latest delay wasn’t immediately provided.

The original Starliner mission was set to take place on May 6 but was scrubbed due to a valve problem, delaying the historic takeoff. On May 14, the mission was delayed again, this time over a propellant leak and additional testing.

If completed, the Starline test flight would bring Boeing a step closer to having regular flights to and from the International Space Station.

The delayed launches are another hurdle for the company as it looks to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, both companies that were given approval for commercial space flights in 2014.

Boeing already has new dates scheduled, including Sunday at 12:03 p.m. EDT or at a later date, depending on the cause of the latest scrub, CNBC reported.

The string of issues puts the spotlight back on Boeing, which has experienced sharp criticism this year after mishaps on flights, including a mid-air blowout, prompted investigations into company safety.

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