Sunita Williams
June 29, 2024, 5:07 p.m.

NASA Confirms Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore Safe on ISS Amid Starliner Technical Checks

In response to recent reports suggesting that NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Butch Wilmore are stranded on the International Space Station (ISS) due to technical difficulties, both NASA and Boeing officials have clarified that these claims are unfounded. They stressed that the astronauts are safe, and their return is being meticulously planned.

The initial worries arose from suspected helium leaks in the Boeing Starliner spacecraft, which transported the astronauts to the ISS earlier this month. However, during a press conference late Friday, NASA officials assured the public that the situation is under control.

"We are not in any rush to return home," said Steve Stich, NASA’s commercial crew program manager.

He emphasized the safety of the ISS, stating, "The station is a secure and safe environment, allowing us to take our time to ensure the vehicle is ready for the journey back to Earth."

NASA and Boeing are carefully assessing the performance of Starliner’s propulsion system before deciding on the return trip.

Sunita Williams

Additionally, a recent water leak detected in a service and cooling umbilical unit has contributed to the extended mission timeline. This issue led to the premature conclusion of a spacewalk on June 24, prompting NASA to reschedule the next spacewalk for the end of July. This delay provides ground teams with ample time to address the leak and ensure the astronauts' safety.

While the astronauts' mission was originally planned for eight days, their stay on the ISS has been extended. Nevertheless, NASA has assured that the spacecraft has adequate resources to support the astronauts during this extended period.

"The spacecraft needs seven hours to complete a standard end-of-mission procedure and currently has enough helium to support 70 hours of free flight activity post-undocking," NASA reported

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