NASA Endangered Lives of Astronauts? Knew About Boeing Starliner Problems But Launched Anyway

The astronauts are now stranded on the International Space Station (ISS) due to multiple issues with the spacecraft.

NASA is under fire after reports revealed that the agency knowingly allowed the troubled Boeing Starliner to launch, endangering the lives of astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore. The astronauts are now stranded on the International Space Station (ISS) due to multiple issues with the spacecraft.

The Boeing Starliner experienced significant problems shortly after reaching orbit, including helium leaks and thruster outages. These issues were known to both NASA and Boeing before the launch, yet they were deemed tolerable risks, according to reports from The New York Post and CBS News. The decision to proceed with the launch despite these known defects has drawn comparisons to the infamous Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, where ignored damage led to a fatal re-entry.

Currently, the astronauts remain on the ISS, unable to return to Earth. NASA engineers are attempting to address the problems remotely, but the situation remains precarious. With the Starliner over 400 kilometers above Earth, the ability of ground engineers to ensure the safety of the crew is limited.

The New York Post reported that NASA and Boeing were aware of a helium leak prior to launch but downplayed its significance. The spacecraft later developed four additional leaks and suffered from five thruster outages, with one thruster being permanently damaged. These malfunctions have forced Williams and Wilmore to extend their mission, initially set to end on June 13, until at least July 2.

NASA astronauts stranded in space

NASA has maintained that the astronauts are not stranded and can return at any time, a stance that has been met with skepticism. Critics argue that NASA's decision to launch despite known issues mirrors the oversight failures that led to the Columbia disaster, which resulted in the deaths of all crew members due to ignored damage.

Boeing, once a paragon of engineering excellence, has faced severe criticism for its recent lapses in quality control. The company has been embroiled in controversy following crashes of its latest passenger jets and now the Starliner issues. Over 20 whistleblowers have come forward, highlighting the dire state of Boeing's quality standards.

NASA also faces backlash for its role in the Starliner's launch. The agency's willingness to overlook significant risks, given Boeing's recent history of quality control failures, has sparked outrage. This situation has raised serious questions about NASA's commitment to astronaut safety and the integrity of its decision-making processes.

In the wake of these revelations, both NASA and Boeing are under intense scrutiny. The Starliner crisis has not only jeopardized the lives of astronauts but also eroded public trust in two of the most storied organizations in aerospace.