Boeing is now organizing to start the second uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft no before than December, the enterprise declared Friday (Aug. 28).
The mission, named Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2), will be Boeing’s 2nd endeavor at launching its new astronaut taxi to the Intercontinental Space Station, subsequent a partial failure that prevented the Starliner spacecraft from achieving the station all through the OFT-1 mission in December 2019.
As soon as the business has demonstrated that the new room car can safely ferry astronauts to and from the space station, it will be equipped to start out launching astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as June 2021, NASA officers stated in a assertion.
Related: Boeing’s 1st Starliner flight exam in photographs
Starliner’s to start with crewed mission, identified as Crew Flight Examination, will deliver NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson to the space station. If that crewed check flight is effective, Boeing could commence flying operational crewed missions as soon as December 2021, NASA additional in the statement.
Boeing’s initial operational crewed flight, known as Starliner 1, will bring NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada to the place station. All Starliner missions will start from Cape Canaveral Air Pressure Station in Florida on a United Start Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Boeing and NASA initially prepared to fly Starliner’s Crew Flight Examination mission in mid-2020, but the mission was delayed soon after Boeing made the decision to redo the Orbital Flight Examination. Throughout its 1st exam flight in December 2019, a series of complex challenges left the Starliner spacecraft stranded in the mistaken orbit and unable to get to the room station. So, in its place of docking with the orbiting lab, Starliner returned to Earth just after just two days in room.
Pursuing the problematic check flight, NASA and Boeing shaped an impartial evaluation staff to examine the induce of OFT-1’s partial failure. That investigation, which wrapped up in July, identified that two major application problems and a non permanent drop in communications in the course of the exam flight had been mostly accountable for the partial failure, and the investigators discovered 80 “corrective actions” for Boeing to handle prior to the following Starliner mission. Boeing has so significantly tackled practically 75% of those tasks, NASA said in the assertion.
Although the Starliner spacecraft is created to be reused, Boeing will use a manufacturer new Starliner for the OFT-2 mission. The new capsule will present “supplemental on-orbit working experience for the operational teams prior to traveling missions with astronauts,” NASA said in the statement. The OFT-1 Starliner capsule, nicknamed “Calypso,” will fly once more on the Starliner 1 mission.
Boeing has spent this summer season assembling the new Starliner capsule for OFT-2 and is at this time adding a number of ending touches in advance of the spacecraft is prepared to fly. Meanwhile, Boeing’s computer software workforce in Houston is wrapping up the modifications to Starliner’s flight codes that were encouraged by the impartial evaluation group. The software staff is at present getting ready to conduct a absolutely integrated, end-to-finish rehearsal test with Starliner and the Atlas V rocket — a examination that Boeing was criticized for skipping prior to the problematic OFT-1 mission.
Whilst Boeing is however doing work to display that its new astronaut taxi can safely and securely transportation crews to and from the space station, SpaceX is gearing up for its very first operational Crew Dragon mission to the station, Crew-1, subsequent the company’s successful Demo-2 mission, which sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the room station in May perhaps.
Right after the house shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA contracted both equally SpaceX and Boeing to launch astronauts from U.S. soil, therefore reducing NASA’s dependence on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get astronauts to the area station.
E mail Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
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