The Starliner ship will fly into space with two astronauts in the coming days despite having a helium leak

The Starliner ship will fly into space with two astronauts in the coming days despite having a helium leak
The Starliner ship will fly into space with two astronauts in the coming days despite having a helium leak

The multinationals Boeing and United Launch Alliance, in collaboration with NASA, will try to finally launch the space capsule Starliner this Saturday, June 1, without waiting for the repair of the helium leak who suffered one of the valves two weeks ago.

With the decision, the manned flight test is set for this June 1 at 6:25 p.m. peninsular time from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The ship, developed by Boeing, will travel aboard the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, which transports NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station (ISS). With Starliner, Boeing aims compete directly with SpaceX and its Crew Dragon capsulesthe only vehicles currently carrying astronauts to the ISS from US soil.

This is the fourth release date announced in the span of less than a month. Initially, it was scheduled for May 6, but a problem with an oxygen valve in the upper stage of the rocket forced it to be postponed until May 17, when the helium leak was detected, with which the ship will also end up being launched without have corrected the error.

Minor problem

The reasons What Boeing alleges, after analyzing it in depth, is that the leak affects only one of the 28 propellers of the RCS control system, so it does not represent a safety problem. Even if it increased 100 times, he said Steve Stichresponsible for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, would not be either.

For its part, Mark Nappi, director of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program, said last Friday that repairing the leak is a “quite complicated” process that would involve the ship returning to the company’s factory to be disassembled, which would entail a new delay even greater than the previous ones. And, Stich said, helium leaks are frequent in space flights: the space shuttles suffered them on certain occasions and some Crew Dragon capsules as well.

The mission will serve to test all the spacecraft’s systems before starting regular flights next year. In the event that weather prevents the flight, NASA will try again on June 2, 5 or 6.

 
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