First crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft delayed once more

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft at the space station during an uncrewed test flight.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft on the house station throughout an uncrewed take a look at flight in 2022. NASA/Boeing

The first astronaut launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has been pushed again but once more.

The Starliner’s maiden crewed flight with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams was speculated to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 6, however two hours from launch, engineers noticed a difficulty with a stress regulation valve on the Atlas V rocket’s higher stage, prompting the mission workforce to halt the countdown clock.

A revised schedule for the journey to the International Space Station (ISS) had focused May 17 for launch, however on Tuesday NASA introduced that it is now targeting May 21 because it wants to finish extra testing.

NASA defined that after engineers efficiently changed the valve on Saturday, a “small helium leak” had been detected on the Starliner’s service module, the supply of which it has managed to hint.

“NASA and Boeing are developing spacecraft testing and operational solutions to address the issue,” the space agency said in a launch on Tuesday. “As a part of the testing, Boeing will bring the propulsion system up to flight pressurization just as it does prior to launch, and then allow the helium system to vent naturally to validate existing data and strengthen flight rationale.”

The Atlas V and Starliner are presently sheltered on the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Wilmore and Williams, in the meantime, stay in preflight quarantine and traveled again to Houston on May 10 to spend time with their households whereas engineers put together the rocket and spacecraft for subsequent week’s launch

During the extremely anticipated mission, the 2 astronauts will spend a few week aboard the house station earlier than returning to Earth in a parachute- and airbag-assisted touchdown within the southwestern U.S. After that, NASA will start the ultimate technique of certifying Starliner and its programs for crewed rotation missions to the house station, alongside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The Starliner’s growth has confronted quite a few delays over time. Its first try to succeed in the house station in its first uncrewed take a look at flight in 2019 resulted in failure when the automobile was unable to enter the proper orbit. The mission surfaced a slew of points with the capsule’s software program programs that needed to be addressed earlier than it may fly once more. A second uncrewed take a look at flight in 2022 managed to dock with the house station, however a variety of new points needed to be resolved to get the Starliner prepared for the primary crewed flight, which can hopefully launch subsequent week.

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