Sunita Williams’ return delayed by spacecraft glitches

NASA has confirmed that Indian-origin astronaut Sunita William’s return from the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed again

| Updated: 22 June, 2024 6:53 pm IST
NASA has confirmed that Indian-origin astronaut Sunita William’s return from the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed again, her return has been postponed indefinitely due to technical issues with the spacecraft with no new date set for her “happy landing.”

NEW DELHI: NASA has confirmed that Indian-origin astronaut Sunita William’s return from the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed again, her return has been postponed indefinitely due to technical issues with the spacecraft with no new date set for her “happy landing.” This development has added a layer of uncertainty to Williams’ return journey, as engineers and mission control work diligently to resolve the glitches that have caused this delay. The extended wait underscores the complexities and challenges of space travel, even for seasoned astronauts like Williams.

The delay is due to a series of glitches with the Boeing Starliner spacecraft that transported her to space. Sunita Williams & her co-passenger, Butch Wilmore, are safe on the ISS, along with the seven other crew members who inhabit the “mini-city in space.”

Ms. Williams arrived at the ISS on June 5 aboard the Boeing Starliner on its maiden mission, initially planned as a 10-day stay. However, the mission has been extended twice due to issues with the small rockets needed for the crew module’s return to Earth and a series of Helium leaks plaguing the Starliner’s first crewed flight.

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NASA reports that the crew is not in a hurry to leave the station, as there are ample supplies in orbit and the schedule is open until mid-August. Ms. Williams was initially set to return on June 14, but this was rescheduled to June 26. However, this date has also been postponed, and a new return date has not yet been announced.

“NASA and Boeing’s leadership are rescheduling the return of the Starliner Crew Flight Test spacecraft with agency astronauts. The June 26 undocking and landing date has been moved to avoid conflicts with a series of planned International Space Station spacewalks and to allow mission teams time to review propulsion system data,” according to media sources.

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