Astronauts confident of returning safely to Earth with Boeing capsule

Miami – Astronauts Barry «Butch» Wilmore and Sunita «Suni» Williams, part of Boeing’s first mission to the International Space Station (ISS), stated today in a teleconference their full confidence in being able to return to Earth aboard the spacecraft.

Originally scheduled for mid-June, their return has been indefinitely postponed due to technical issues with the Starliner, including five minor helium leaks in the capsule’s service module.

«At this moment, based on all the information we have, we are absolutely prepared,» asserted Wilmore from the orbital laboratory, highlighting the «spectacular» performance of the spacecraft during launch and the first 24 hours.

Both NASA astronauts expressed confidence in the knowledge and experience of the team behind the mission.

«I have a good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home,» shared Williams, who stated she has no doubts about the capabilities of the capsule manufactured by Boeing.

The crewed test mission lifted off on June 5 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and docked with the Harmony module of the ISS the following day.

The return, originally expected to last about a week at the space station, has been delayed due to helium leaks and technical problems with the spacecraft’s propulsion system.

According to the US space agency, once all tests are completed and data analyzed, they will conduct a thorough review with Boeing executives before confirming the return journey to New Mexico from the orbital complex.

The success of the Crew Flight Test (CFT) will mean that NASA will have a second provider, after SpaceX, for transporting both crewed missions and cargo to the ISS, under contracts signed with both private firms in 2014.

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