Astronauts stuck in space from Starliner problems confident Boeing will get them home safely

Two astronauts who have been stuck in space weeks longer than planned believe Boeing will get the pair back to Earth safely even as the troubled company’s space capsule has faced a string of problems.NASA test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams offered an optimistic view of their current predicament that began last month when helium leaks and thruster failures were discovered on the new Starliner capsule they launched into space.“I have a real good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home, no problem,” Williams said during the pair’s first news conference from orbit on Wednesday.Wilmore added, “We’re absolutely confident” he and his colleague will return safely after thruster testing is completed on Earth.Williams and Wilmore were the first people to ride in the Starliner when they took off in early June, but the problems have ensured they won’t be home any earlier than late July.The test flight was supposed to come back down to Earth on June 14 after a total of eight days in space.The pair stressed they’ve enjoyed the extra time in orbit and helping the station crew made up of seven other astronauts.“I’ll just reiterate again this is a test flight, we were expecting to find some things and so we are finding stuff and we’re correcting it and making changes, making updates,” Williams said.NASA and Boeing are trying to duplicate the Starliner’s thruster problems on a new unit at a missile range in New Mexico this week — hoping it could be the key to their return.Five thrusters failed as the capsule approached the space station on June 6 – a day after lift-off.

So far, four of the five have been reactivated — which Wilmore said should be enough working thrusters to get them home.“That mantra you’ve heard, failure is not an option, that’s why we are staying here now,” Wilmore said.“We trust that the tests that we’re doing are the ones we need to do to get the right answers, to give us the data that we ...

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Publisher: New York Post

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