Boeing Starliner test flight delayed until 2022

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The spacecraft has been plagued by technical problems

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NASA has officially launch pushed back Orbital Flight-Test 2 until next year, as it continues to work on the oxidizer isolation valve issue on Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, the agency announced.

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the agency said blog post It continues to assess the potential launch window for the mission: “The team is currently working toward pending hardware preparation, rocket manifest and space station availability opportunities in the first half of 2022,” according to the Post.

Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said it was “a complex issue” affecting parts of the spacecraft that are not easy to access, requiring “a systematic way to investigate effectively”. approach and require sound engineering.”

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Boeing’s Starliner is one of two vehicles designed to carry passengers to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program; SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is the second. NASA requires each company to undertake an uncrewed test flight, followed by a crewed test flight as part of the process. So far, Starliner has operated only one uncrewed flight, but it encountered software problems before reaching the ISS.

Boeing expected to fly the Starliner without passengers on a second attempt this summer, but hours before liftoff the company discovered problems with some of the spacecraft’s propulsion valves, and NASA cleared the launch. .

Earlier this week, NASA announced that it was reassigning two astronauts who were supposed to fly on the upcoming Starliner flights to an upcoming SpaceX flight. Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will fly to the International Space Station on the fifth crewed SpaceX mission, currently scheduled for autumn 2022.

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