Starliner practice flight

Starliner practice flight expected to move to 2022

A practice flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner industrial crew vehicle, postponed by a valve issue in August. Which is not likely to take place prior to sometime next year, says a NASA official on 21st September.

In a call with the media regarding organizational deviations at NASA, Kathy Lueders throws light on the matter. She says that engineers were still attempting in order to establish why valves in the propulsion system of the Starliner spacecraft stuck shut. This is the reason for postponing an uncrewed practice flight that was set up for early August. Kathy is the associate administrator for the new Space Operations Mission Directorate.

Boeing gave up on performance that practice flight, known as Orbital Flight Test (OFT) 2, in its August window. It is standing down since 13th August. The firm took the Starliner spacecraft from its Atlas 5 rocket and returns it to its assembly facility. The facility is situated at the Kennedy Space Center in order to further examine the problem.

“The crew is even now suffering its troubleshooting,” says Lueders. Boeing representatives say that the previous month that –
  • Nitrogen tetroxide propellant leaked out of Teflon seals on the valves
  • The chemical then came in contact with moisture on the “dry” side of the valve
  • Creating nitric acid that rusted the valves and began them to stick shut
Lueders says researchers have examined the dry side of the valves and now are thinking about removing valves in order to examine the “wet” side. A “decision point” is going to take place in the next few weeks, she says. It is concerning if –
  • To repair this service module
  • Use a new service module for the OFT-2 mission

She has doubts that the OFT-2 operation may take place before the year-end. “The timeline and the patent through the end of the year is pretty right now,” she says. “My instinct is that it will be likely to be next year, however, we are still at work through that timeline.”

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