How long are they going to be stuck up there, exactly?

Bright Side

As two astronauts remain stuck aboard the International Space Station thanks to a barrage of issues with Boeing’s Starliner capsule, NASA is praising the aerospace company for getting them there in one piece.

As reports, NASA said that despite the several issues that arose during its first days in space, the Starliner is now performing well enough that it and former naval pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, the astronauts who hitched a ride to the ISS on the capsule, will be able to stay there for as long as it takes the agency and Boeing to figure out how to fix those problems.

Despite repeated delays, warnings that the Boeing capsule craft would likely have issues, and the discovery of helium leaks prior to liftoff, NASA nevertheless went ahead with the first crewed Starliner launch in early June. To the shock of no one, it immediately ran into trouble, first developing more leaks on its journey to the ISS and then having trouble docking once it got there.

Though the mission was only planned to last for 10 days, that stretch keeps growing — and has now been extended indefinitely.

Exponential Increases

Yes, we’re rolling our eyes too.

“We talked about a 45-day limit, limited by the crew module batteries on Starliner, and we’re in the process of updating that limit,” Steve Stich, the manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, told reporters at the end of last week during a teleconference attended by “We’ve been looking at those batteries and their performance on orbit. They’re getting recharged by station, and that risk hasn’t really changed. So the risk for the next 45 days is essentially the same as the first 45 days.”

If you’re keeping tabs, that jargon-y explanation for the American astronauts being stranded aboard the ISS for an indeterminate amount of time has a NASA official admitting that they could be there for 90 days total — nine times longer than the 10 days than Wilmore and Williams were originally allotted for the mission.

And as notes, Starliner is technically rated to stay in orbit as long as 210 days, which would be 21 times longer than that initial 10-day window.

It’s a disastrous state of affairs for everyone involved — but hey, at least the capsule didn’t blow up!

More on Starliner: NASA Says That the Boeing “Astronauts Are Not Stranded” While the Astronauts Remain Stranded