Boeing Starliner scrubbed: What happened, and when is next launch date?

Boeing's attempt to launch its historic Starliner spacecraft with two astronauts aboard to the International Space Station from Florida on Saturday was scrubbed minutes before launch.

At 12:21 p.m. and T-3:50 to liftoff, the ground launch sequencer issued an automatic hold, immediately aborting the 12:25 p.m. scheduled launch, according to NASA.

It's another delay for an already long-delayed mission. Starliner scrubbed its previous attempt on May 6 due to a couple issues that needed to be evaluated.

What happened?

It was not immediately known what caused the ground launch sequencer to issue the hold. That will now be evaluated by teams from NASA, Boeing, and ULA, who are all part of this launch, a NASA commentator said during NASA's live feed.

Both NASA astronauts inside – Sunita "Suni" Williams, 58, and Barry "Butch" Wilmore, 61 – are safe, NASA said.

Shortly after the official scrub was declared, crews were working through various checklists and processes to safely get the astronauts out of the space vehicle.

When is the next launch date?

There are several backup launch dates for the Boeing Starliner, including Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6.

What's the mission?

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. Because this is Boeing's Crew Flight Test (CFT), researchers will pay extra attention to how all systems work. 

How long will Suni and Butch be on the International Space Station?

When the Starliner eventually launches, Wilmore and Williams will take about 26 hours to reach the International Space Station (ISS), where they will stay for about a week.

Why this launch is historic

Per 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. "