NASA and Boeing once again postpone the launch of the Starliner manned spacecraft

NASA and Boeing once again postpone the launch of the Starliner manned spacecraft
NASA and Boeing once again postpone the launch of the Starliner manned spacecraft

The first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner space capsule has been delayed again by a helium leak in the ship.

“Starliner teams are working to resolve a small helium leak detected in the spacecraft service module and attributed to a flange on a thruster of the single reaction control system,” he explained in a NASA statementwhich hired Boeing ten years ago to transport astronauts to and from the Space Station with Starliner.

Helium is used in spacecraft propellant systems to allow the thrusters to ignite and it is not combustible or toxic.

As part of the testing, Boeing will bring the propulsion system to flight pressurization just as it does before launch, and then will allow the helium system to vent naturally to validate existing data and strengthen flight logic.

Problems with the rocket too

Furthermore, on May 11, the ULA team successfully replaced a pressure regulation valve in the liquid oxygen tank in the Centauro upper stage of the Atlas V rocket, an anomaly that thwarted a launch attempt on May 7. The team also performed a repressurization and purging of the system, and tested the new valve, which functioned normally. After that, it was postponed to May 17, but was canceled again due to a technical failure.

The new launch date was May 21 but, as we mentioned, NASA, Boeing and the ULA (United Launch Alliance) affirm that will need additional time to complete the ship closing processes.

The Atlas V rocket and the Starliner spacecraft remain in the Space Launch Complex-41 Vertical Integration Facility at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, still in pre-flight quarantine, returned to Houston on May 10 to spend more time with their families as pre-launch operations progress. The duo will fly back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the coming days. The flight has a new takeoff date not before May 25at 9:09 p.m. Spanish peninsular time.

Wilmore and Williams will be the first astronauts to launch aboard the Starliner spacecraft of Boeing to the Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The astronauts will spend about a week in the orbital laboratory before returning to Earth and making an assisted landing with a parachute and airbag in the southwestern United States.

Upon successful completion of the mission, NASA will begin the final Starliner certification process and its systems for manned rotation missions to the Space Station.

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