NASA Astronauts Excited  Starliner Launch

to Watch Boeing's

Butch Wilmore, Mike Fincke and

 Suni Williams are all military test pilots and NASA astronauts, and they’re eager for Boeing's new spacecraft to prove itself so they can climb aboard.

NASA held a press conference May 18

a day before the planned launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on a crucial uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station

Agency leaders, including

  NASA associate administrator Bob Cabana and human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders, were joined by the three astronauts

The coming mission,

called Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2), is scheduled to launch Thursday (May 19) at 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

 The redundancy will complement

 the capabilities of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, which have already launched four NASA crews to the ISS

Boeing and SpaceX

both hold NASA contracts to fly astronauts to and from the space station,

China Will Launch  Investigate Distant Galaxies

Telescope In 2023 To