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Boeing's space mission extended, what's still happening with the Starliner capsule ?

The first manned mission of the Starliner capsule destination of the ISS was expected to last about a week. But the return of the two NASA astronauts has already happened. été pushed back &agrav; many times.

Is Boeing's Starliner capsule cursed?? If superstition is not a good thing in space, we cannot stop ourselves I would like to ask the question in view of the multiple hazards experienced by this spacecraft which must make it possible to ensure crew rotations at various times. aboard the ISS.

After several last minute postponements, the launch of the Starliner's first manned mission has finally taken off. on June 5 with à its board Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore. The two NASA astronauts were to stay at the airport. aboard the International Space Station for about a week. But their mission was é firstly extended until June 18, then until June 22 and finally until June 25.

Boeing and NASA say they want to take the time to analyze the data linked to helium leaks and propellant problems that disrupted the operation the first attempt at docking with the the ISS on June 6. In addition, a spacewalk scheduled for June 13 was also planned. pushed back to the 24th, which also prompted to the postponement of Starliner's departure.

Boeing's space mission extended, what's still happening with the Starliner capsule ?

© NASA

Let's go back to September 16, 2014 to understand everything. On this date, NASA announced the final selection of space vehicle projects for the transport of astronauts. It was then a matter of appealing to the sector private to replace the American space shuttle which has been out of service since 2011. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon are selected. The first operational flights were initially planned for 2017. Faced with the delays inherent in any space program of this scale, the date has been set. successively pushed back.

Ultimately, it was SpaceX which was the first to successfully complete a manned flight. and obtained certification of its capsule in 2020. Since then, the Crew Dragon has carried out its mission without the slightest failure with 13 manned flights on the clock. Starliner, which is supposed to be come to share this task, was to make his first manned flight end of 2022. Gold, continued à the discovery of technical problems with the parachute system of a potentially flammable adhesive tape used in To protect electrical cables, the launch was launched. pushed back &agrav; numerous times, until spring 2024. "Buzzing valve" &agrav; replace, launch sequencer problem, helium leak… The problems multiplied even more before launch , all the same achievedé on June 5.

But Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore were not at the end of their troubles! During the approach phase for mooring at On the ISS, five of the Starliner's 28 thrusters failed. Four were able to be returned to service and the vessel arrived. &agrav; good port &agrav; the second attempt. Subsequently, other helium leaks were discovered. detected, still at the level of the thrusters. Analyzes are underway to determine the cause(s) of these failures. Boeing and NASA have already done so. decided to modify the capsule's atmospheric reentry procedure while ensuring that the performance of most RCS thrusters is good while helium leaks "show that they are stable and lower than those measured [previously].

Boeing's space mission extended, what's still happening with the Starliner capsule ?

© NASA

If the departure of the Starliner is kept on June 25, the crew should land on Earth on June 26 at the port site space at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. At the end of this mission, in-depth analysis work will have to establish all the causes of the technical problems encountered before confirming the feasibility of the project. of the first regular Starliner-1 flight which is supposed to take place carry a crew of four astronauts (Scott Tingle, Michael Fincke, Joshua Kutryk and Kimiya Yui) in early 2025.

Boeing and NASA recall that this first manned flighté is a development mission which involves unforeseen events and delays. "We always said that this was a test flight and that we were going to learn some things. So here we are, saidé Mark Nappi, vice president and director of Boeing's commercial crew program.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116