HomeScience & TechNASA Delays Boeing Starliner's Return from Space Station

NASA Delays Boeing Starliner’s Return from Space Station

NASA has announced a delay in the return of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft from the International Space Station (ISS). Originally scheduled for June 26, the spacecraft’s return has been postponed indefinitely due to ongoing technical issues and additional testing requirements.

The crewed test mission, which launched on June 5 with astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, encountered multiple technical problems. These included five failures out of 28 maneuvering thrusters, five helium leaks needed to pressurize the thrusters, and a slow-moving propellant valve.

NASA officials emphasized the need to understand and resolve these issues before allowing the spacecraft to embark on its roughly six-hour return journey to Earth. The undocking and re-entry phases are considered the most complicated and critical parts of the mission.

Boeing’s Starliner program has faced numerous hurdles since its inception, including software glitches and design problems. The company has already incurred $1.5 billion in cost overruns on top of its $4.5 billion NASA development contract.

 NASA aims to have both Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon as capable spacecraft for transporting astronauts to and from the ISS. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has been the primary mode of transport since 2020.

Boeing has been actively working to resolve the thruster issues. During Starliner’s docking with the ISS on June 6, Boeing managed to implement fixes to revive four of the five failed thrusters, allowing the spacecraft to dock successfully.

The delay adds to the list of challenges faced by Boeing’s Starliner program and raises questions about the timeline for obtaining routine flight certification from NASA. Resolving the technical issues is crucial for ensuring the safety and reliability of future missions.

For more details and updates, follow NASA’s official channels and stay tuned to Aanworld.

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