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Watch: Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams dances in excitement after reaching International Space Station

SpaceX and Boeing developed their respective vehicles under NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme, a partnership with private industry contractors. From the outset, the space agency aimed to have both companies operating at once.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: June 07, 2024 8:43 IST
Indian origin Astronaut Sunita Williams
Image Source : @BOEINGSPACE Indian origin Astronaut Sunita Williams

Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams, who along with other astronauts reached to the International Space Station (ISS), couldn't control her emotions after the Boeing Starliner safely docked at the ISS, and displayed a dancing gesture with a big smile on her face. 

Boeing’s Starliner, the first crewed spacecraft piloted by Sunita Williams, safely reached the International Space Station on June 6. The mission, which had to take off earlier was postponed earlier this month due to a technical snag.

Williams, 58, flew into space for the third time aboard the test flight.

Earlier in a statement, NASA said, "Mission managers from NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) continue to evaluate a path forward toward launching the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The teams are now working toward a launch opportunity at 12:25 pm on Saturday, June 1, with additional opportunities on Sunday, June 2, Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6."

Starliner carried Williams and Butch Wilmore to the International Space Station, marking what could be a momentous and long-awaited victory for the beleaguered Boeing programme.

An attempt to launch the first crewed test flight for the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in Florida was postponed on May 6 after a technical snag was discovered moments before the take-off.

NASA will also conduct a Delta-Agency Flight Test Readiness Review to discuss the work that was performed since the last CFT launch attempt on May 6 and to evaluate issue closure and flight rationale ahead of the next attempt as part of NASA’s process for assessing readiness, the statement said.

The statement said Williams and Butch Wilmore continued practising in Starliner simulators to prepare for flight, and the crew, which remains quarantined, will fly back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida closer to the new launch date.

The mission has been delayed for several years because of setbacks in the spacecraft's development.

If it is successful, it will become the second private firm able to provide crew transport to and from the ISS, alongside Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Such a scenario — with both SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Starliner flying regularly — is one for which the US space agency NASA has long waited.

This is Boeing’s second flight to the International Space Station and third Starliner flight test overall, following a second Orbital Flight Test, the uncrewed mission also known as OFT-2, in May 2022.

Boeing also completed a pad abort demonstration in November 2019, according to NASA.

The Crew Dragon and Starliner spacecraft would each serve as a backup to the other, giving astronauts the option to keep flying, even if technical issues or other setbacks grounded one spacecraft.

Williams received her commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy from the United States Naval Academy in May 1987. Williams was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998 and is a veteran of two space missions, Expeditions 14/15 and 32/33.

She served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33.

ALSO READ | Typing with a twist: Indian man sets third consecutive Guinness World Record for 'nose typing'

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