NASA and Boeing will try again to launch the first manned mission of the Starliner on May 7

NASA and Boeing will try again to launch the first manned mission of the Starliner on May 7
NASA and Boeing will try again to launch the first manned mission of the Starliner on May 7

A Starliner upon arrival at the International Space Station on its unmanned test mission in May 2022 – NASA

NASA and Boeing have just officially confirmed that they will attempt to launch the first manned Starliner mission to the International Space Station (ISS) next May 7May 6 at night in the United States.

The objective of the mission, known as Boeing Crew Flight Test (Boeing Manned Test Flight, Boe CFT) is to take Barry Wiltmore and Sunita Williams to the ISS. They will remain there for approximately a week before returning to land. It is the equivalent mission to the Crew Dragon Demo-2, successfully carried out in August 2020.

An astronaut in the blue Boeing suit reclining in one of the Starliner's chairs with the control panels in front of him and his right hand holding the control stick
Barry “Butch” Wiltmore training in a Starliner simulator – Boeing

It was to have been launched – already much delayed than initially planned – in the summer of 2023. But shortly before the launch, NASA discovered that the lines of the braking parachutes to the capsule had a lower resistance than what was recorded in all records. And it did not offer the desired safety margins. This required changing them for the appropriate ones and doing new tests.

But he also discovered that Boeing had used adhesive tape to fix wiring inside the capsule that in certain conditions can be flammable. That, in addition to being completely surprising, forced the capsule to be gutted to replace that tape with another that would not burn.

And between tests and availability of ISS ports, the launch has been postponed until this recently announced date. Let’s see if it finally comes true.

The idea is to be able to check if the Starliner is, finally, ready to enter regular service and thus provide an alternative to the Crew Dragon from SpaceX. If this time everything goes well, Boeing and NASA would like to launch Starliner 1, the capsule’s first regular mission, in December of this same year.

 
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