Sunita Williams’ Historic Starliner Launch Postponed Due to Technical Glitch

The much-anticipated launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, carrying veteran astronaut Sunita Williams, has been postponed due to a technical issue. This news comes as a disappointment to space enthusiasts and Williams herself, who was poised to make history as the first woman on a new crewed space shuttle mission.

The launch, originally scheduled for today at 8:04 am IST, was scrubbed just 90 minutes before liftoff. NASA cited an “off-nominal condition” with an oxygen relief valve on the Atlas V rocket as the reason for the delay. Williams and fellow astronaut Barry Wilmore safely exited the spacecraft following the postponement.

This would have been Williams’ third spaceflight, adding to her already impressive record-breaking career. With 322 days spent in space and previously holding the record for most spacewalk hours by a woman (since surpassed by Peggy Whitson), Williams was looking forward to etching her name in history again.

The excitement surrounding the mission stemmed from Williams’ role as a pioneer. Not only would this have been her third space voyage, but she was also slated to be the first woman on a maiden crewed mission aboard a new spacecraft. This would have been a significant milestone for both Williams and women in space exploration.

Despite the delay, Williams’ spirit remains high. Having played a part in the design of the Starliner alongside NASA and Boeing engineers, she expressed her eagerness to return to the International Space Station, which she considers a “home away from home.” She even revealed plans to carry a lucky charm, an idol of Lord Ganesh, on this journey.

The 10-day Starliner mission serves a dual purpose: to demonstrate the spacecraft’s capabilities and to prepare the team for NASA certification, allowing them to conduct longer-duration missions in the future. While the launch may be delayed, the dream of a successful Starliner mission with Sunita Williams onboard lives on.

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