NASA and Boeing have finally revealed the next possible date for an unmanned test launch of the company’s CST-100 spacecraft. Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station: first half of 2022.
The next Starliner mission has been to test orbital flight 2 since then AugustWhen it involves a technical glitch 13 valve oxidizer In the spacecraft propulsion system It failed to open during the countdown, forcing the space agency and company officials to cancel their plans. The valves are connected to the Starliner thrusters, which control the maneuvering functions in orbit and abort.
At the time, NASA said that the test would take place after a rocket launch asteroid lucy space probe, which is scheduled to go into space on Saturday, October 16. But Boeing wasn’t sure if it could be implemented this year at all.
In the end, it seems that Boeing was right. NASA and Boeing will analyze the potential airline Opportunities next year along with United Launch Alliance, the manufacturer behind the Atlas V rocket that will launch the Starliner, and eastern rangeThe Space Force entity responsible for the East Coast launch.
NASA officials wrote in Blog update. “The team is currently working on opportunities in the first half of 2022 pending instrument readiness, rocket manifest, and space station availability.”
NASA and Boeing officials are continuing to make progress in the investigation of the oxidizer valve issue, NASA said. Boeing found that tThe most likely cause appears to be related to oxidant and moisture reactions.
“Boeing has demonstrated successful valve functionality using localized heating and electric charging technologies,” NASA explained. “Troubleshooting on the platform, in the launch complex, and within the Starliner production plant at the Kennedy Space Center resulted in movement of all but one of the original stuck valves. This valve was not intentionally moved to maintain forensic direct root cause analysis.”
Over the next few weeks, Boeing will conduct tests of the spacecraft and components to further analyze potential factors that contributed to the valve failures and determine treatment. In addition, it will remove three valves from the spacecraft for further examination.
The company has set different paths forward, each depending on the results of its tests, to prevent the problem from happening again. These solutions include a slight refurbishment of the existing service module to use another one already in production, according to a NASA update.
Starliner, part of the NASA program that seeks to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, He only completed one more unmanned test flight for what appears to be a long time ago. In 2019, she managed to reach space but did not make it to the International Space Station due to a software malfunction.
Currently, NASA has only two options available to send astronauts to the International Space Station, the Russian spacecraft and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.