Newswise — On Wednesday, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams boarded Boeing’s first Starliner’s flight. According to The New York Times, this launch comes after a series of delays due to technical difficulties such as inadequate software testing, corroded propellant valves, and more recently a helium leak in the spacecraft’s propulsion system. The New York Times stated that the astronauts will stay at the space station until at least June 14, depending on how the testing of the spacecraft proceeds on orbit and the weather at landing sites.

With over 40 years of experience within commercial space, SpaceX, and US Space Force, Illinois Grainger Engineering professor, Michael Lembeck of the Aerospace Engineering department, would be able to provide an expert’s point of view on the story.

Lembeck worked as a systems engineering consultant for Boeing in the early phases of the Starliner development. He has headed a large NASA funded study for KBR on what it takes for a commercial space market to succeed. His subject matter expertise includes satellite development, human space systems, and returning to the moon and Mars.

 “With the addition of the Boeing Starliner to the fleet of human space vehicles, it is great to see the United States providing assured access to space,” Lembeck said.