Astronauts confident Boeing capsule will bring them back to Earth

Two astronauts who should have returned to Land weeks ago they said on Wednesday that they are confident that the capsule of Boeing will be able to bring them back, despite recent problems.

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams launched into space earlier this month in Boeing’s new Starliner capsule, becoming the first to use it. Helium leaks and propellant failures nearly ruined its docking with the International Space Stationand have kept them in space much longer than planned.

In their first press conference from space, they said they plan to return once the thruster tests on Earth are completed. They said they have no complaints about spending more time in space and enjoy being able to help the station crew.

“I have a good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home safely.”Williams said.

The test flight was to last eight days, concluding on June 14.

This week, the POT and Boeing are trying to replicate the problems with Starliner’s thrusters at a new field in New Mexico, one of the main landing sites in the American West desert. The problem is in the propulsion system, which is used to maneuver the craft.

Five thrusters failed as the spacecraft approached the space station on June 6, a day after liftoff. Four have since been reactivated. Wilmore said there should be enough working thrusters to lift the spacecraft out of orbit. There are also larger engines that could be used if necessary.

“That mantra that you’ve heard, that failure is not an option, that’s why we’re here now,” Wilmore said. “We’re confident that the testing we’re doing is what we need to get to the right answers, to give us the data we need to come back.”

Boeing and NASA say the tests are essential to finding out what happened, since that segment of the capsule — the service module — breaks off before landing. The leaks are also in that disposable segment.

NASA ordered the Starliner and SpaceX Dragon capsules a decade ago for astronaut flights to and from the space station, paying the respective companies billions of dollars to do so.SpaceX’s first “space taxi” was in 2020. Boeing’s first manned mission was delayed several times due to software and other issues.