NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrive in Florida for Boeing's first human spaceflight.

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) — Two NASA astronauts assigned to Boeing's first human spaceflight arrived at their launch pad Thursday, a week before their scheduled liftoff.

Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will serve as test pilots for Boeing's Starliner capsule, which is making its crewed debut after years of delays. They flew from Houston to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

Blasting off on an Atlas rocket on May 6, Starliner will fly to the International Space Station for a week-long shakedown trip. Boeing is trying to catch up with SpaceX, which will send astronauts to NASA starting in 2020.

None were on Boeing's previous two Starliner test flights. First, in 2019, didn't do to the space station due to software and other problems. Boeing He repeated the demo In 2022. More recently, the capsule There was trouble Parachute problems and flammable tape had to be removed.

Wilmore insisted it was a test flight.

“Do we expect it to go well? This is the first human flight of the spacecraft,” he told reporters. “I'm sure we'll figure things out. That's why we do this.

NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing a decade ago. The space agency is still interested in keeping two rival companies' capsules for its astronauts, even if the space station is decommissioned by 2030.

“It's very important,” Wilmore noted.

Wilmore and Williams were the first astronauts to ride on an Atlas rocket since NASA's Project Mercury in the early 1960s.


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