Boeing Starliner check flight to the ISS postponed to 2022 – CNET

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Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was secured on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket last summer. The August launch has been scrubbed, and NASA is now saying it is looking for a repeat next year.

United Launch Alliance

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft continues to struggle to make it to the International Space Station as its unmanned Orbital Flight Test-2 to the ISS is now being postponed until next year. The test is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, in which the space agency works with private companies like Boeing and SpaceX to get astronauts to the station.

NASA said Friday that the team behind OFT-2 is “working towards launch opportunities in the first half of 2022”. That follows a scrubbed start last August. In December 2019 the first major Starliner flight test did not go as planned, with the unmanned spaceship takes off, but experienced a timing error and was unable to reach the ISS. However, it returned safely to Earth.

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The problem with OGT-2 now has to do with a “problem with the oxidizer shut-off valve in the drive system of the Starliner service module,” NASA said in a blog post yesterday.

“This is a complex issue with dangerous goods and complicated areas of the spacecraft that are not easily accessible. It required a methodological approach and solid technique to study it effectively, “said Steve Stich, manager of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said in the post.

In addition to attempting to achieve NASA’s goal of “safe, reliable, and inexpensive access to and from the International Space Station and near-earth orbit”, the commercial crew program ties in with the space agency Artemis and lunar-mars plans. Artemis calls for the first woman and the next man to be put on the moon sometime in the near future, and finally to establish sustainable exploration there. The knowledge gained by Artemis is used to send astronauts the red planet.

So far, SpaceX and its spaceship Crew Dragon have had better luck than Boeing in the Commercial Crew Program. After some delays, the company founded by Elon Musk has its Demo-1 unmanned test mission in 2019 and has since Astronauts brought to the ISS several times. Earlier this week, NASA announced it was assigning two astronauts from Boeing missions to an upcoming SpaceX mission. In April, NASA announced that it has selected SpaceX provide the human landing system for the Artemis program.

There’s also a space tourism nook for SpaceX. In June the company signed a contract with Send space tourists to the ISS starting next year (at a reported price of $ 55 million per seat). And last month, SpaceX took a step in that direction when his Inspiration4 mission sent a crew of private individuals to orbit the earth.

It is not clear when exactly Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 will take place.

“Potential launch windows for OFT-2 will continue to be assessed by NASA, Boeing, the United Launch Alliance and the Eastern Range,” NASA said in its post. “The team is currently working on opportunities in the first half of 2022 until the hardware is ready, the missile manifest and the availability of the space station.”

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