Sunita Williams' Third Space Mission Postponed, Here's Why

This time, Sunita Williams would have made history as the first woman to fly on a maiden crewed mission of a new space shuttle. Her 3rd space mission was aborted just hours before the lift-off

Pavi Vyas
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The launch of the Boeing Starliner, which was set to take astronaut Sunita Williams to space for a third time, has been postponed due to a technical glitch. No new date has been announced for the launch. Veteran Indian-origin NASA astronaut Williams is a space hero and inspiration for many women. However, her 3rd space mission was aborted just hours before the lift-off. The space mission that was all set to fly on May 7, Tuesday at 8:04 am (IST) was grounded just 90 minutes before the launch by the American space agency. The new launch date is yet to be announced.


This would have been the third space travel for the Indian-origin astronaut, who has already spent 322 days in space and held a record for the maximum hours of spacewalk by a woman, before being overtaken by Peggy Whitson.

Why Was Sunita Williams's 3rd Space Mission Called-Off Before Liftoff?

The mission, crewed by Williams and fellow astronaut Barry Wilmore, was set to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner capsule atop an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, with the countdown nearing its final stages, NASA announced a "scrub" – a postponement of the launch just 90 minutes before the take-off. 

The US Space Agency, NASA announced that there was an anomaly detected in an oxygen relief valve on the rocket's second stage due to which there was the postponement to the space mission. 

Prior to this scrub, Williams along with her fellow astronaut Barry Wilmore were strapped on their seats for over an hour as the launch preparations were progressing, but as the mission was grounded, both the astronauts were safely exited from the spacecraft. 

This setback comes after years of development for Boeing's Starliner spacecraft. The 10-day mission was intended to be a critical test flight, ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time with the Starliner capsule.

Poster girl for many women aspiring to fly into space, Sunita Williams was all set for her 3rd flight which could have been a record-breaking in her career as she would have become the first woman to fly in a maiden crewed new space shuttle. The spacefaring community will now eagerly be waiting for Williams's return to the space to script another chapter in her remarkable career.

Willams went on her first space voyage that lasted for 6 months (Dec 9, 2006- June 22, 2007) and her second voyage from July 14 to November 18, 2012. 

Boeing Starliner Sunita Williams