Boeing Starliner

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Valve Issue Grounds Starliner Capsule Indefinitely, Boeing to Conduct Thorough Troubleshooting

Starliner Capsule Grounded Indefinitely…Learn more…

Monday, 16th August 2021

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will be grounded indefinitely, the company said on Friday. They will continue to probe into the problems with the valves in the propulsion system.

American space agency NASA along with Boeing and NASA had scrubbed the launch in Florida ten days ago. Ever since technicians and engineers have been working on it and the 13 valves that control the flow of dinitrogen tetroxide (NTO) oxidizer through the service module of the spacecraft.

The propulsion system has a total of 24 oxidizer valves that are crucial for both in-space travels as well as launch emergency escapes.

Of the 13 valves that engineers have sought to open for the last few days, they have managed to nine, said John Vollmer, vice president, and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. The other four are still stuck. This has led the company to decide to conduct a deep level troubleshooting on it for which they plan to de-stack the Starliner spacecraft from its Atlas V rocket and move it to the nearby Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility.

Vollmer said on Friday during a teleconference with the media, “We made the decision that we were just out of runway and we had to come back to the factory.”

This decision of shifting the Starliner makes a launch scheduled later this month, impossible. Moreover, it will preclude doing a launch anytime before next year.

The Atlas V rocket provider, United Launch Alliance will have to now concentrate their efforts on NASA's Lucy mission that is expected to launch in mid-October.

When asked if Starliner could be made ready for a launch by November, Vollmer said he would not bet on it.

He said, “It's probably too early to say whether it's this year, or not, I would certainly hope for as early as possible, and if we could fly this year it would be fantastic.”

That launch, initially scheduled on July 30 was called off due to a mishap at the International Space Station. In the second flight test the Starliner capsule, after a 24-hour long journey, will be launched on the ISS aboard a ULA rocket. It will make its journey back to Earth after a week.


The News Talkie Bureau



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