The flight has been postponed again. Boeing announced Tuesday, August 3, that the unmanned test mission of its Starliner space capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed due to a problem with the propulsion system, delaying an important test for the company, whose first attempt in 2019 failed.
The spacecraft was scheduled to launch into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:20 p.m. (7:20 p.m. in Paris), aboard an Atlas-V rocket built by the United Launch Alliance. But nearly two hours before launch, Boeing announced Twitter That flight has been cancelled.
According to a statement from NASA, the mission was not canceled due to the vagaries of the weather, but due to“Unexpected indications of the position of the valves of the Starliner propulsion system”, with the next potential window for launch on Wednesday at 12:57 PM (16:57 GMT).
“We are disappointed with today’s result and have to reschedule the launch of Starline.”said John Vollmer, president of Boeing. “Boeing and NASA will take the time necessary to ensure the safety and security of our spacecraft and achieve our mission goals.”
The experimental mission was scheduled for Friday, but was postponed to Tuesday after a Russian scientific unit unexpectedly activated the thrusters after docking with the International Space Station, changing its direction.
You no longer need Russian missiles
After ending its space shuttle program in 2011, NASA secured Boeing and SpaceX services so they would not need Russian rockets to reach the International Space Station. SpaceX has already transported at least ten astronauts to the space station, Including Frenchman Thomas Bisquet, aboard his Crew Dragon.
For its part, Boeing is behind schedule. In December 2019, during its first test flight, a software issue caused an issue with the way the capsule ignited its thrusters.
As a result, the Starliner did not have enough fuel to reach the International Space Station and had He returned to Earth prematurely. Subsequently, the investigation showed that the capsule almost experienced a serious flight anomaly when it entered the atmosphere. NASA called the mission High definition close call., a rare name dedicated to flights approaching disaster.
Steve Stitch, head of NASA’s commercial flight program, told the press last week that he was confident this time. “We want it to go well, we expect it to go well and we have prepared as best we can.”, He said. “Starliner is a super suit, but we know how hard it is, and it’s also a test flight, so I’m sure we’ll learn something from it.”
The capsule is expected to carry more than 180kg of equipment to the International Space Station and return more than 250 when it completes its mission in the US Western Desert.
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