First Human Spaceflight in Almost 56 Years will take Out From Cape Canaveral with Astronauts

Next week, astronauts will launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station for the first time in more than 50 years.

The first human spaceflight from the space station in almost 56 years will occur when the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, atop an Atlas V rocket, launches from Cape Canaveral, if all goes as planned.

Apollo 7, which carried humans into orbit in 1968, was the last launch from the Cape.

Just over a week before their planned liftoff on May 6, the two NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams—part of Boeing’s first human spaceflight—arrived at their launch site last week.

After years of delay, Wilmore and Williams will fly into Kennedy Space Center on April 25 from Houston to serve as test pilots for Boeing’s Starliner capsule, which is making its crew debut.

The Starliner will travel to the International Space Station for a week-long shakedown voyage as a result of Friday’s blast off atop an Atlas rocket. Boeing is attempting to overtake SpaceX, which since 2020 has been launching humans on behalf of NASA.

Onboard Boeing’s two prior Starliner test flights, there was no one. Due to software issues and other issues, the first attempt to reach the space station in 2019 was unsuccessful. 2022 saw Boeing repeat the demo. The capsule had to have its flammable tape removed and parachute problems fixed more recently.

Wilmore emphasized that the purpose of this test flight is to find any problems.

“Do we expect it to go perfectly? This is the first human flight of the spacecraft,” he informed reporters. “I’m sure we’ll find things out. That’s why we do this.”

A decade ago, NASA paid billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to have them transport astronauts to and from the space station. Despite the space station’s impending decommissioning by 2030, the space agency remains committed to maintaining two capsules for its crew.

“That’s vitally important,”  Wilmore said.

Wilmore and Williams will be the first astronauts since NASA’s Project Mercury in the early 1960s to board an Atlas rocket.

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