NASA and Boeing postpone Starliner launch after new glitch

NASA and Boeing postpone Starliner launch after new glitch

© APA | NASA and Boeing

# 04 August 2021 09:23 (UTC +04:00)

Boeing Co scrubbed the launch of its CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station on Tuesday due to a system glitch, a fresh setback for the US aerospace company following the vehicle's botched 2019 debut, APA reports citing Gulfnews.

Boeing engineers ruled out "a number of potential causes, including software," but were still working to understand the source of "unexpected valve position indications" in the propulsion system, Boeing said in a statement Tuesday evening.

"Additional time is needed to complete the assessment," Boeing said, adding that it would also not proceed with the next potential launch window on Wednesday.

The delay of Tuesday's uncrewed test flight throws into question the timing of Boeing's follow-on mission with a crew onboard, which Boeing has said would take place no earlier than December.

Boeing engineers detected the valve position problem during Tuesday's pre-launch preparations, while making checks after electrical storms in the region, Boeing said in a statement.

"We will not launch until our vehicle is performing nominally and our teams are confident it is ready to fly." The Starliner capsule loaded with supplies had been due to blast off atop an Atlas V rocket flown by the United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp , from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The launch was originally planned for last Friday, but was postponed by NASA after the space station was briefly thrown out of control with seven crew members aboard, a mishap caused by the inadvertent reignition of jet thrusters on a newly docked Russian service module. Russia's space agency blamed a software glitch.

The uncrewed mission was intended as a precursor to crewed flight potentially to be conducted before the end of the year.

It was the latest setback for a US aerospace giant reeling from back-to-back crises - a pandemic that crushed demand for new jetliners and a safety scandal caused by two fatal 737 MAX crashes - that have damaged Boeing's finances and engineering reputation.

Boeing was powering down the spacecraft on Tuesday evening, and planned to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the Vertical Integration Facility on Wednesday for further inspection and testing "to inform the next steps," Boeing said.