Starliner is delayed again and its launch window may close soon

Starliner is delayed again and its launch window may close soon

expansion / A close-up of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule on top of the powerful Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral’s SLC-41. A white room is installed.

Trevor Marman

During the week leading up to Boeing’s Starliner test flight on Tuesday, NASA and aerospace company officials said the spacecraft and its Atlas V rocket were ready. Their big concern was the weather, due to the frequent afternoon thunderstorms along the east coast of Florida, they said.

The weather conditions along the coast looked pretty good on Tuesday morning, hours before the launch window opened. However, Boeing had to scrub the launch attempt anyway because of a valve problem in the spacecraft’s reaction control system. This helps maneuver the vehicle in space.

Boeing and NASA engineers attempted to identify the cause of “unexpected valve position signs” in the spacecraft propulsion system on Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps they were trying to determine if these valves were actually in the wrong position or if the display was due to some incorrect sensor reading.

On Tuesday night, engineers were unable to reach a conclusion and Boeing said it would cancel Wednesday’s potential launch attempt. In the statementThe company did not disclose the target date for its next attempt, saying it needed more time to investigate the problem.

John Volmer, vice president and program manager of the Boeing Commercial Crew Program, said: “Our team has been working hard to ensure the safety and success of this mission. We are confident that our vehicle is nominally performing and the team is ready to fly. We will not launch until we do. “

The next opportunity to launch the Starliner following Wednesday will come this weekend on August 7th and 8th, but sources have told Ars that it may be difficult for the spacecraft to create its launch window. The company’s engineers will probably take a day or two or more to resolve the issue.


However, Starliner does not have an infinite startup window. The first conflict will occur later this month, with SpaceX’s CRS-23 International Space Station supply mission scheduled to begin on August 28. Only two docking ports can be used at the station for these types of missions. Currently, one is occupied by the Crew Dragon and the CRS-23 Cargo Dragon is occupied by the second port. If NASA suspends the launch of the CRS-23 in late August, Boeing’s Starliner will have enough time to arrive and depart from the station before the cargo dragon arrives on August 20. It needs to be launched on a regular basis.

According to NASA’s current schedule, the CRS-23 will be undocked from the space station on September 30, and the Starliner port will open in October. But there is another complex problem. NASA has high-priority scientific missions. Lucy, A 21-day startup window will open in mid-October. The mission will also fly on the Atlas V rocket.

The United Launch Alliance will take at least a couple of weeks to finalize the launch of Atlas V, so even if the Starliner is launched on October 1, it could take some time from Lucy’s launch window. Giving up that chunk is dangerous for asteroid missions. Asteroid missions will face a delay until 2022 if they miss the window. NASA seems likely to prioritize Lucy’s mission over Starliner’s test flight.

In conclusion, it is very important for Boeing, NASA and the United Launch Alliance to remove the Starliner from the pad by mid-August. Failure to do so can significantly delay your mission.

The first test flight of Starliner is “Close call with high visibility,” During The vehicle was almost lost Both immediately after launch and just before returning to the atmosphere.This started NASA Boeing Safety Culture Survey Demands significant improvements to Boeing’s flight software. Boeing also agreed to pay for the second test flight from its own resources at a cost of $ 410 million.

After a lot of effort, Boeing is finally back on the pad this week. However, the scrubbed launch on Tuesday will roll the rocket and spacecraft back into the integrated hangar for further troubleshooting. Starliner is delayed again and its launch window may close soon

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