Two-month delay to launch of the first manned mission aboard Boeing’s Starliner, which seeks to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX
A manned space flight of Boeing’s Starliner has been delayed by two months as the SpaceX rival seeks to overcome technical issues revealed during its latest uncrewed test flight.
NASA confirmed in a Blog post The mission of Boeing’s first Starliner capsule to carry humans was backtracked from February to April 2023.
come next Boeing successfully launched its much-delayed flagship Starliner capsule In space in late May this year.
In place of NASA astronauts, the CST-100 Starliner carried supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).
This was a very big deal for Boeing, which means that there is now a competitor for it SpaceX Dragon capsulewhich has It has already transported astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) On a number of occasions.
However, the Starliner mission carrying a crew of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station is the last step before the Boeing spacecraft can be certified for routine flights.
The US space agency stated that “the date adjustment eliminates the conflict of spacecraft traffic at the space station as NASA and Boeing are working together to achieve flight readiness.”
“The team continues to make progress toward a manned Starliner flight following the successful orbital flight test 2 (OFT-2) to the space station in May,” NASA said. “Starliner and United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket hardware remains on track for readiness in early 2023.”
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner is housed on top of a rocket, and its May spaceflight brought back a 2019 flight that had been cut short due to software glitches and technical malfunctions. In 2019, a program failure aborted a CST-100 Starliner capsule’s debut attempt to dock at the space station.
Then in August 2021 Boeing tried to launch, but it was canceled Due to a problem with jammed valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system.
In October 2021, Boeing confirmed that repairing jammed valves would take longer than expected, and Unmanned test flight regressed to mid-2022.
Finally in May of this year, I completed a program An unmanned test flight docked at the International Space Station.
However, although Starliner successfully demonstrated a space station docking in May, Boeing encountered several technical issues with the spacecraft during the mission, which it is repairing to NASA’s satisfaction.
“We are currently working on a variety of verification efforts across the many critical systems that will be used to obtain Starliner crew flight certification,” the space agency wrote in the NASA blog.
The CST-100 Starliner capsule is designed to carry seven people, and is supposed to be launched on top of an Atlas V rocket.
It was primarily designed as a space taxi, and once declared operational, the CST-100 Starliner capsule will mostly carry NASA astronauts to and from the space station.
You will land back on the ground via parachutes.
This is an important development, because the use of Russian launch facilities is now out of the question with its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Boeing has been developing Starliner since 2014 when NASA selected the company, along with SpaceX, under a roughly $4.2 billion contract from NASA, to develop space capsules that could transport astronauts to and from the space station.
NASA of course has a similar contract with SpaceX, whose rival Crew Dragon capsule has flown six manned flights for the agency since 2020.
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