NASA and Boeing Starliner mission to the International Space Station delayed again, launch uncertain

NASA and Boeing Starliner mission to the International Space Station delayed again, launch uncertain

A Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a ULA Atlas V rocket in July 2021.

Boeing / John Grant

Boeing is hoping to launch its Starliner crew for the second time in an effort to dock at the International Space Station. Boeing The first attempt failed in December 2019 To get the right job, but she provided him with valuable data. The company seemed ready to try again, but the files Launch attempt canceled Tuesday – second delay in less than a week.

Engineers revealed. Unexpected indications of valve placement in the propulsion system “during a spacecraft health check after Monday’s electrical storms in the area, Boeing said Tuesday. It is uncertain whether the storms are responsible for the technical problem.”

The company and NASA on Wednesday considered a potential target for another launch time, but the fuse problem continued to haunt the mission. “Technical teams have ruled out a number of potential causes, including software, but additional time is needed to complete the assessment,” NASA said Tuesday night. There is currently no new release date.

The mission was originally scheduled to leave on Friday, but that was postponed due to Thursday version with the Russian ISS unit They fired his missiles shortly after docking at the station. This destroyed the space station and forced the teams to assess the station’s condition.

“The ISS team will use the time to continue inspections of the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) and ensure that the station is ready for Starliner arrival,” NASA said in a statement dated August 29.

NASA will broadcast the launch when it finally happens.

When the Starliner is finally launched, it will blast off on an Atlas V rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA). The capsule will be filled with approximately 400 pounds of crew and cargo supplies. If all goes well, it will stick to the space station about 24 hours later. The docking will also be broadcast live by NASA TV.

Software errors and a communication link issue led to an early end to Boeing’s original test flight in 2019, even though the CST-100 Starliner capsule landed safely on Earth. The upcoming Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is an opportunity for Boeing to thoroughly examine its hardware and software before a crew of three American astronauts fly aboard the Starliner.

Both Boeing and SpaceX are part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which includes sending astronauts to the International Space Station from US soil. SpaceX has now brought 10 astronauts to the International Space Station, and Boeing is eager to catch up. But first, you must prove that the Starliner can safely reach the International Space Station and return to Earth.

Starliner will spend five to 10 days on the International Space Station before returning research samples to Earth. Boeing wants to return the spacecraft to a parachute landing in the New Mexico desert.

OFT-2 will provide valuable data that will help NASA certify the Boeing Crew Transportation System to transport astronauts to and from the space station. NASA said in a statement on July 22 after completing the flight readiness assessment.

The mission is an important step in NASA’s plans to conduct regular launches with crews from the United States, and end reliance on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Boeing is also looking forward to its first manned mission, the Boe-CFT, which it hopes to launch within the next six months. Delays with OFT-2 could mean you have to wait longer for people to fly your Starliner.

Continuation of CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to keep up with the latest space news for the year. You can even add it to your Google Calendar.

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