NASA and Boeing overcome obstacles for the first manned flight of the Starliner

NASA and Boeing overcome obstacles for the first manned flight of the Starliner
NASA and Boeing overcome obstacles for the first manned flight of the Starliner

Boeing and the POT have resolved two technical problems with the Starliner spacecraft, including one “design vulnerability” requiring a workaroundso that the capsule is ready again for its first mission with two astronauts to space, according to official sources reported on Friday.

Starliner’s first crewed mission, a high-risk test now scheduled for June 1, derailed earlier this month due to a small helium leak detected in its propulsion system hours before it took off from Florida.

After more than two weeks of additional scrutiny, it was found that the leak did not pose a significant risk to the astronauts, according to authorities. “This is not really a flight safety issue for us, and we believe we have a well-understood issue that we can control,” Mark Nappi, head of Boeing Starliner, told reporters.

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The first manned flight of Starliner, with NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore on boardis a final test mission before NASA can certify the spacecraft for routine astronaut trips to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

It would be the second American crew capsule along with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which began flying with humans in 2020.

Boeing BA.N and NASA’s investigation into the helium leak led engineers to discover an additional problem in the Starliner’s propulsion system that NASA commercial crew chief Steve Stich called a “security vulnerability.” design”.

The models showed that cascading problems, although very unlikely, during a mission they could eliminate the capsule’s reserve thrusters and render it unable to return to Earth safely. Boeing and NASA will discuss whether a deeper redesign is required before future flights, according to officials.

That broader problem and the ad hoc resolution led NASA to convene an additional flight readiness review, a sprawling one-day meeting between agency officials, Boeing engineers and independent analysts to make the case that the Starliner is safe. for the flight.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, three days before Boeing’s planned launch time of June 1 at 12:25 PM ET. If necessary, Starliner also has the possibility of flying on June 2, 5 and 6.

Boeing, which initially attempted to launch Starliner on May 6, faces pressure to hit one of those dates in early June. Any delay after June 6 could cause weeks or even months of delays due to changes that would have to be made.

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In 2019, Starliner failed in an attempt to reach the ISS, returning to Earth about a week earlier than planned due to dozens of software, technical and management problems that reconfigured Boeing’s relationship with NASA. However, the ship was successful in a new flight to the ISS in 2022.

With information from Reuters.

ORP

 
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