Two astronauts stranded in space

Two NASA astronauts are stranded in the middle of space with no date set for their return to Earth. Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams are on the International Space Station (ISS) due to mechanical problems with their Boeing Starliner spacecraft.

The ship took off on June 5 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying flight commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore and flight pilot Sunita “Sonny” Williams.

The flight was part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program and sought certification of Boeing's spacecraft so they could carry out routine missions to the International Space Station.

The astronauts were expected to return to Earth on June 14, but that was not possible. History has seen various delays and the time when they will be able to return has not yet been determined.

“We took our time and followed our standard mission management process,” Steve Stich, director of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, told ABC News.

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Stitch explained that there are small leaks occurring in the helium system, in addition to problems in the performance of the propulsion devices.

NASA and Boeing confirmed that the astronauts are not in danger and have enough supplies to be in orbit.

Mark Nappi, Boeing vice president and director of the Starliner program, said that the astronauts received their experience inside the ship positively.

“The crew feedback has been very positive, and they know that every learning we gain from crew flight testing will improve and refine our experience for future crews,” he said.

The ship has already failed

The Starliner spacecraft encountered multiple problems before launch. The flight test was initially scheduled for May 6 this year, but was canceled due to a problem with an oxygen valve on a rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA), a company that makes and operates rockets that launch spacecraft into space.

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A new launch date was later set for May 25, but a small helium leak was discovered in the service module.

After docking with the International Space Station, five small helium leaks were discovered. At the time, NASA and Boeing claimed there was enough helium for a return mission. Wilmore and Williams are contributing to station operations and completing objectives necessary for possible certification of the Starliner.

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