Due to a propulsion problem, Boeing delayed the uncrewed flight from its Starliner capsule into orbit to the International Space Station (ISS). This means that Boeing will have to reschedule a critical test it attempted in 2019.
The spaceship was due to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on an Atlas V rocket of the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The company posted a tweet just two hours before liftoff stating that they were cleaning the flight.
NASA stated that the test was canceled due to inclement weather but “unexpected valve position indications” in the Starliner propulsion systems. In the meantime, NASA has announced that the next launch opportunity will be at 12:57 Eastern Time (1657 GMT) Wednesday.
The flight was initially scheduled for Friday, but it was canceled after a Russian science module accidentally fired its thrusters after docking with the ISS. This caused the orbital outpost to go berserk.
NASA’s Space Shuttle program was ended in 2011. SpaceX and Boeing were awarded multi-billion-dollar contracts to provide astronauts with shuttle services to the station. This would end US dependence on Russian rockets.
SpaceX has now completed three crewed missions, which means that the program is moving faster.
Boeing’s program is behind. The Starliner capsule encountered software problems that affected how it fired its thrusters during an uncrewed test flight in December 2019.
Starliner could not get enough fuel to the ISS, so it had to return to Earth early. A subsequent investigation revealed that Starliner almost experienced a flight anomaly when it reentered the atmosphere.
NASA called the mission “high visibility close calls,” a designation reserved for near-catastrophes.
Last week, Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Manager, stated that he was confident this time.
He stated, “We want it all to go smoothly, we expect it will go well, and we have done all the preparations possible.”
Starliner is a fantastic vehicle, but we also know how difficult it can be. It’s a test flight, so I fully expect that we’ll learn something from this flight.
The spacecraft will transport more than 400 pounds (180 kg) of cargo and crew supplies to ISS. It will also return more than 550 lbs of cargo, including air tanks, when it lands in the western US desert after its mission.