June 20, 2024

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Boeing’s Starliner launch was delayed until the end of May to fix a helium leak

Boeing’s Starliner launch was delayed until the end of May to fix a helium leak

May 18 (UPI) — Boeing’s first crewed space mission was postponed again Friday due to an ongoing helium leak.

Spacecraft now It is scheduled to take off on May 25 After NASA canceled the launch scheduled for Tuesday.

Delay will give time to the team Continue evaluating small helium leaks The agency said in the spacecraft service module.

This is the latest in a series of delays to Boeing’s Starliner mission, which is supposed to send NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Sonny” Williams to the International Space Station.

Starliner teams The leak was discovered on Wednesday. While NASA said the leak is stable and will not pose a risk during flight, Boeing is developing procedures to ensure the system maintains sufficient performance capability and adequate redundancy during flight.

The May 6 launch was canceled due to a malfunction in the oxygen tank pressure-regulating valve on the ULA Atlas V rocket, which would have sent the Starliner into space from NASA’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The agency said Wilmore and Williams are undergoing quarantine in Houston and are now scheduled to return to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the new launch date approaches.

Boeing’s first crewed Starliner mission About four years behind schedule. The first unmanned mission ended in 2019 after the spacecraft failed to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Boeing overhauled the program with major software and hardware updates and launched a successful mission in 2022.

The company has a more than $4 billion contract with NASA under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which replaced the Space Shuttle program after it ended in 2011.

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Meanwhile, SpaceX, whose contract with NASA is worth $2.6 billion, has flown 50 people into space on 13 successful missions.

Boeing has a lot more problems to deal with on the ground. The company’s commercial aviation wing came under intense scrutiny after a door stopper flew off an Alaska Airlines 737 Max jet in January.

Several other issues with the Max 737 have been reported since January. The Justice Department said it would open a criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident.