For years, Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been a name synonymous with “delay.” However, after years of development and setbacks, the spacecraft is finally poised to take its first crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). This wasn’t without last-minute drama, though, as the launch was scrubbed just two hours before liftoff due to a valve issue in the Atlas V rocket.

Despite the hiccup, the mission remains a significant milestone. It signifies not only a new era for Boeing’s commercial space ambitions but a critical step in ensuring the United States retains its capability to launch astronauts from American soil.

A Journey of Perseverance

The road to this launch has been long and winding, marked by a series of technical hurdles that tested Boeing’s engineering prowess and NASA’s patience.

Starliner’s first uncrewed test flight, originally planned for 2015, suffered multiple delays due to software glitches and hardware concerns.

Finally, in December 2019, the capsule embarked on its maiden voyage.

However, a critical software error caused the capsule to burn too much fuel, preventing it from reaching the ISS.

This setback was a major blow to Boeing’s program, raising questions about the spacecraft’s reliability and highlighting the complexity of human spaceflight.

Boeing Starliner
Artist’s rendering of Boeing’s Starliner capsule in space. (Image source: Boeing/NASA)

A second attempt in August 2022, though successful in docking with the station, revealed further concerns.