The first manned test flight of the crisis-plagued spaceship “Starliner” has been further postponed following technical problems. The US space agency Nasa and Boeing announced that the flight should now take off no earlier than May 21st at 4:43 p.m. local time (10:16 p.m. CEST). Previously, the target was next Friday.

The test flight, which had already been postponed several times, was canceled last week shortly before the planned launch due to abnormalities in an oxygen valve on the “Atlas V” rocket. After a thorough inspection, the decision was made to replace the valve. There was also a problem with a helium leak on the spacecraft. It said further checks would be carried out at the Cape Canaveral spaceport in the US state of Florida.

The two NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Suni Williams were reportedly allowed to spend some extra time with their families before returning to Cape Canaveral. The two are supposed to set off with the “Starliner” on its first manned test flight to the International Space Station (ISS) and stay for around a week.

In May 2022, the “Starliner,” developed and built by US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, completed a successful unmanned flight to the ISS for the first time and spent four days there – an important test for the spacecraft. In the future, it will transport astronauts to the ISS as an alternative to SpaceX’s “Crew Dragon” space capsule. However, due to a number of problems, the project is well behind schedule.