October 16, 2021

Boeing indefinitely postpones Starliner test flight

The test flight of Boeing’s Starline spacecraft has been postponed indefinitely after a problem with valves in the vehicle’s propulsion system. NASA and Boeing let you know this week.

Starliner Boeing

“This is clearly a disappointing day,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s head of human spaceflight, told a news conference, also writing Space.com . “But I want to emphasize that this is another example of why these demo missions are so incredibly important to us.” The Starliner will now make a test flight once NASA and Boeing are “ready.”

According to NASA and Boeing, the problems were in valves from the Starliner propulsion system. The two companies would have discovered that thirteen of these valves did not open, causing the test flight to be postponed, CNBC writes . Boeing vice president John Vollmer said he is working with the manufacturer of these valves, Aerojet Rocketdyne, to identify the cause and resolve the issues.

The Boeing Starliner is due to launch to the ISS earlier this month on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. That mission would have been a repeat of a failed test flight from 2019 , in which the vehicle spent two days in orbit, but was unable to reach the ISS due to problems with the flight control system, due to it being in a wrong orbit. ended up. The Starliner then landed with a parachute in New Mexico.

The most recent launch was originally scheduled for July 30, but was delayed due to a problem with an ISS Nauka module that caused the space station to tilt. The launch was then delayed again due to a propulsion problem. The company initially spoke of a new launch attempt in August, but has now announced that this will not work. No concrete time frame for another launch is disclosed, but NASA says the launch is “certainly” after another NASA mission set to take place in October. So it will take at least another two months before NASA and Boeing can perform the test flight again.