Astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station

A photo of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft as it prepares to dock with the International Space Station for the first time, this Thursday, June 6, 2024 (NASA via AP)

The first two astronauts were transported on board the spacecraft Starlinerthe spacecraft of the American aviation giant BoeingI entered on Thursday International Space Station (ISS)Despite the delay due to problems in the payment system.

“What a wonderful place, and it's great to be back here,” he said with a smile. Butch WilmoreNASA astronaut a pot.

Wilmore, 61, with Sonny Williams58 years old, did it like this His third visit to the International Space Station on the first manned Starliner missionThis represents a major challenge for the aerospace giant as well as for NASA.

Ten years ago, the US space agency ordered two new vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station. While SpaceX has been operating a space taxi for four years, Boeing's program is years behind schedule.

After taking off from Florida the day before, The spacecraft gently approached the International Space Station on Thursday, flying 400 kilometers above Earth and traveling at a speed of about 28,000 kilometers per hour.

The docking occurred at 17:34 GMT, about an hour and 20 minutes later than initially scheduled, according to NASA.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying two astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner-1 crew flight test (CFT), is launched on a mission to the International Space Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 5, 2024. (Reuters/Joe Skipper )
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying two astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner-1 crew flight test (CFT), is launched on a mission to the International Space Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 5, 2024. (Reuters/Joe Skipper )

The ship was unable to dock when it had less than 250 meters left to reach the International Space Station. Because it did not obtain permission to approach due to problems with its propellers.

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A commentator during NASA's live broadcast explained that five of these small boosters, out of a total of 28, failed at some point. Eventually, they were able to operate four, providing the necessary numbers for the operation.

These thrusters are used to make minor adjustments to the ship's course.

Initially, the docking was scheduled to take place at 16:15 GMT.

Astronauts Wilmore and Williams join seven people already on board the International Space Station and will spend nearly a week in the orbiting laboratory.Before returning to Earth inside the Starliner.

Wilmore and Williams have been preparing for this mission for years. Hours before takeoff, they temporarily piloted the ship to test its operation.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams (Reuters/Joe Skipper)
NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

“The accuracy is really unbelievable,” Wilmore announced Wednesday in a recording broadcast by Boeing. “Even more than a simulator.”

The launch took place on Wednesday from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the state of Florida (southeast), after two previous attempts were aborted in less than a month, shortly after the launch.

Starliner became the sixth type of American-made spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts.

This mission has been expected for years and represents A major challenge for Boeing and NASAWhich seeks to accredit the company as a second commercial operator to transport its crews to the International Space Station.

However, the airline giant's program has faced years of delays and adversity.

SpaceX, its competitor owned by businessman Elon Musk, has been playing this role in traveling to the International Space Station for four years.

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(AFP)

Lovell Loxley

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