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Boeing Starliner launch scrubbed minutes before takeoff

Boeing’s Starliner capsule launch was scrubbed minutes before it was scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Saturday. 

The two NASA astronauts were strapped into the company’s Starliner capsule and awaiting liftoff when the countdown was halted at three minutes and 50 seconds.

With only a split second to take off Saturday afternoon, there was no time to work the latest trouble and everything was called off. NASA said it was "due to an automatic hold of the ground launch sequencer," but it's unclear what prompted the automatic hold. 

NASA could try again Sunday, June 2, or Wednesday, June 5.  

The mission was set to launch at 12:25 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. NASA said weather was 90% favorable.

The test drive should have happened years ago. But problems kept piling up, most recently a leak that went unnoticed until the first launch attempt with a crew in early May.

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Who are the NASA astronauts flying on Boeing’s Starliner? 

Astronauts Sunita "Suni" Williams, 58, and Barry "Butch" Wilmore, 61, are both retired Navy captains. If the launch is successful, it will be their third time in space. 

Williams spent 322 days on the International Space Station. She was a Navy test pilot and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and Florida Tech. 

Wilmore piloted the space shuttle mission STS-129 and commanded Expedition 42 on the International Space Station.  He was a Navy officer and pilot and graduated from Tennessee Tech and the University of Tennessee. 

It’s a historic flight for Williams, according to NASA. 

"Williams is the first female astronaut to fly on the first flight of a crewed spacecraft. It also marks the first crewed launch on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and the first crewed launch on an Atlas-family class rocket since Gordon Cooper on the last Mercury program flight aboard "Faith 7" in May 1963," NASA said. 

What's the mission?


In this handout provided by NASA, A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeings CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 after the arrival of NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, Satu

According to Boeing, this launch will demonstrate the Starliner's launch-to-landing capabilities and "prove the team’s readiness to achieve NASA certification and fly long-duration missions for the agency." 

Wilmore and Williams will participate in human research studies on the physiological impacts of space flight and carry some hardware for future studies. They’re expected to be at the ISS for about a week after a 26-hour flight to get there. 

NASA wants a backup to SpaceX, which has been flying astronauts for four years.

FOX 35 and The Associated Press contributed to this report.