NASA astronauts stuck on International Space Station NASA astronauts stuck on International Space Station

NASA astronauts stuck on International Space Station

NASA astronauts stuck on International Space Station

Two astronauts stuck on the International Space Station for more than a month are holding a press conference for the first time on Wednesday to talk about their situation.

Commander Barry Wilmore (Butch, 61) and pilot Sunita Williams (Sunny, 58) launched June 5 on the first Starliner mission to orbit carrying astronauts. After docking with the International Space Station, the NASA astronauts were supposed to remain in orbit for eight days.

But Boeing's Starliner began to suffer problems and its return to the ground was repeatedly delayed.

Boeing insists the astronauts are "not stranded" and says "there is no increased risk when we decide to return Sonny and Butch to Earth," according to Mark Nabi, Boeing's commercial crew program manager.

"Butch and Sonny are not in any danger, and they are not bound by the standards of the space station," he stressed.

NASA, for its part, stated that Wilmore and Williams are safe to remain aboard the International Space Station with the Expedition 71 crew, noting that the International Space Station has plenty of supplies in orbit, and that the station's schedule is relatively open until mid-August.

Starliner can spend 45 days docked with the ISS, or up to 72 days at a time, depending on backup systems. Starliner’s problems come after years of delayed and failed launches. In 2014, NASA asked both SpaceX and Boeing to develop commercial crew capsules, but while SpaceX successfully began flying astronauts in 2020, this flight was Boeing’s first crewed launch. Boeing is thought to have lost about $1.5 billion on the Starliner program.

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