Boeing Starliner test scrubbed

Boeing’s crew test for its Starliner space capsule has been pushed back after a faulty oxygen relief valve led to the scrubbing of its anticipated launch earlier this week.

Originally scheduled to launch May 6 local time and with a possible re-attempt slated for this weekend, the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which supplies the Atlas V rocket for the assignment, has elected to push the next attempt back to Friday 17 May at 6:16pm local time.

During that time, ULA will replace a defective pressure regulation valve on the rocket’s ‘Centaur’ upper stage liquid oxygen tank.

ULA released a statement on May 7 (local time) following the scrubbed launch saying:

Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the flight and pad crew, we scrubbed the Crew Flight Test (CFT) launch attempt today due to an observation on a liquid oxygen self-regulating solenoid relief valve on the Centaur upper stage. The team needs additional time to complete a full assessment…

The crew test is the first mission where the Starliner will be sent to the International Space Station prior to a return to Earth, with NASA astronauts – Barry Eugene Wilmore and Sunita Williams – on board. The pair will remain in quarantine until the next launch.

The next generation spacecraft developed by Boeing as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is equipped to take 7 astronauts into low-Earth orbit missions and service transits to the International Space Station.

Each capsule has a 10-flight lifespan with a 6-month turnaround to prepare each for space returns. The ‘Calypso’ capsule being used in the crew flight test was previously used in the original Starliner flight test in 2019.

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