Boeing Starliner astronauts will delay return home due to issues with spacecraft

The crew is expected to come back to Earth on June 24.

The return to Earth of Boeing’s Starliner capsule will be delayed a few more days, according to NASA, because the ship is having thruster issues.

NASA announced Tuesday that Starliner will conclude its first human mission to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than June 26, nearly three weeks after it launched.

The landing is scheduled for White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 4:51 a.m., according to

The two astronauts, Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore, were originally supposed to spend about a week at the ISS, CNN reported.

NASA and Boeing are using the extra time to continue evaluating thruster issues that interfered with Starliner’s first ISS docking attempt on June 6. Additionally, a postponed ISS maintenance spacewalk will now take place on June 24, two days before Starliner’s scheduled departure, according to

Officials have said there is no reason to believe Starliner won’t be able to bring the astronauts back home safely, said Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager, at a Tuesday news conference.

“We want to give our teams a little bit more time to look at the data, do some analysis and make sure we’re really ready to come home,” Stich said.

The ship’s control thrusters failed during the final phase of the ISS docking on June 6, but four of them came back online, according to NASA. Several hours after the first attempt Starliner was able to dock on its second try, according to Bloomberg.

In addition, a helium leak was found in one of the craft’s thrusters in early May, then several new helium leaks were found after liftoff.

NASA and Boeing uncovered a design vulnerability in a system on the Starline that could affect its reentry. Agency officials subsequently certified a new reentry mode after testing the idea on the ground in simulations with the CFT crew, reported.

“We’ve always said this is a test flight, and we’re going to learn some things. So here we are,” Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s commercial crew program said at a press conference. “We’ve learned that our helium system is not performing, albeit manageable. It’s still working like we had designed it. So, we got to go figure that out.”

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