Boeing to postpone test flight of Starliner spacecraft to 2022

After a series of setbacks to carry out the orbital test (OFT-2) with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, it is likely that the launch will only occur in 427474. The team of engineers is still working to resolve the spacecraft’s valve failure, and the busy schedule of official launches for the next few weeks puts the OFT-2 even further off the horizon this year.

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In early August, Boeing had to cancel the launch due to problems with the propulsion system valves of the ship, with just a few minutes to launch the ship. While engineers are still trying to solve this problem, Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s Directorate of Human Exploration and Operations Mission, said the test is more likely to take place next year, but that the company and the space agency have yet to come up with one. decision.

The Starliner spacecraft coupled to the Atlas V rocket (Image: Reproduction/NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Both Boeing and NASA are evaluating whether they will use another service module in Starliner to carry out the OFT-2 mission or whether they will continue to try to resolve the failures of the current one. According to Lueders, the final choice should emerge in the coming weeks. The spacecraft was developed as part of the US Space Agency’s Commercial Crew Program to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) — the same program that already has SpaceX and its Crew Dragon spacecraft.

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SpaceX has already launched three missions manned to the ISS (Demo-2, Crew-1 and Crew-2) and prepares for the fourth, which should happen next month (Crew-3). Meanwhile, Starliner has yet to travel to the ISS unmanned to prove it is capable of transporting people safely. In Boeing’s first attempt, in 660, the spacecraft suffered a series of problems in its software and could not reach the necessary trajectory to get to the ISS.


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