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Elon Musk’s SpaceX may rescue stranded astronauts if Boeing’s Starliner can’t be fixed

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX might be called upon to rescue two astronauts stranded at the International Space Station (ISS) after their Boeing Starliner spacecraft suffered critical helium leaks. Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, who launched aboard the Starliner on June 5, were initially scheduled to return after nine days. However, ongoing issues with their spacecraft have left their return uncertain, prompting Nasa to seek a solution urgently.
While NASA and Boeing have expressed confidence that the Starliner will be fixed in time for the astronauts’ return, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is a viable alternative if needed.The Crew Dragon, which successfully ferried four astronauts to the ISS in March, can accommodate additional passengers in an emergency, a New York Post report said.
Despite the potential for a SpaceX rescue, Michael Lembeck, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, believes the need for SpaceX’s intervention remains low. “We would have to see a big problem come up in the next couple of days to warrant that reaction,” Lembeck told the NY Post.
Boeing’s Starliner, still docked at the ISS, is undergoing thorough checks to understand and rectify the helium leak issue. This delay in the return trip allows engineers more time to study the problem and ensure the spacecraft’s readiness for future missions.
Katsuo Kurabayashi, a professor of aerospace engineering at New York University, emphasized the importance of taking the necessary time to certify Starliner for a safe return journey. He noted that the situation is fluid, and the next updates from Nasa will be crucial in determining the resolution.
The last time a Nasa astronaut required assistance returning to Earth was in 2022, when Russia’s Soyuz capsule experienced a leak. Although SpaceX was considered for that mission, the astronaut eventually returned on a newly launched empty Soyuz capsule.
Nasa and Boeing are working diligently to ensure the safe return of Wilmore and Williams, while SpaceX stands ready to assist if needed.





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