Boeing's spaceship has yet another technical issue, delaying the launch of a critical re-do flight for NASA
- Boeing has delayed the launch of a critical test flight for NASA after discovering technical issues.
- Engineers found "unexpected valve position indications" in the Starliner spaceship's propulsion system.
Boeingaims to fly astronauts but has suffered a series of delays and software issues.
Boeing found technical issues with its spaceship just hours before a launch that was meant to prove to
The company's Starliner spaceship was secured to the top of an Atlas V rocket, ready to lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Tuesday. The uncrewed test flight would send the capsule to and from the International Space Station - a critical part of NASA's certification process, and the last step before flying people.
But Boeing suddenly scrubbed the launch on Tuesday morning, citing "unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system." In a statement, the company said that its engineers discovered the issue while checking the spaceship's health after electrical storms near Kennedy Space Center.
It's not yet clear if those storms had anything to do with the valve issues.
"We're disappointed with today's outcome and the need to reschedule our Starliner launch," John Vollmer, vice president and manager of Boeing's Starliner program, said in the company's statement. "
The next opportunity for launch is Wednesday at 12:57 p.m. ET. Whether Boeing will be able to resolve the issue by then remains unknown.
Starliner has faced many other errors and delays
This isn't the first time technical issues blocked Starliner's path to the ISS. This mission, called Orbital Flight Test 2, or OFT-2, is a re-do. Boeing first attempted the flight in December 2019, but a software error caused the spaceship to burn through 25% of its fuel too soon after launch. That left it without enough propellant to reach the ISS and return home, so Boeing commanded the spaceship to parachute back down to Earth.
NASA and Boeing are both determined to get Starliner to the ISS, though - first without astronauts, and then with them. The ultimate goal is for Starliner to regularly ferry astronauts to and from the ISS for NASA, as SpaceX already does.
SpaceX and Boeing both developed their
Tuesday's launch scrub is the second time in a week that OFT-2 has been delayed. It was originally set to lift off on Friday afternoon but had to be postponed after a mishap on the ISS. Russia's new module, Nauka, fired its engines unexpectedly after docking to the station on Thursday, which sent the ISS spinning for about an hour before flight controllers regained control.
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