The first crew launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule is on hold indefinitely

May 23, 2024
"NASA will share more details once we have a clearer path forward," Stephen Clark quotes the agency in his piece for Ars Technica.

WASHINGTON - The first crewed test flight of Boeing's long-delayed Starliner spacecraft won't take off as planned Saturday and could face a longer postponement as engineers evaluate a stubborn leak of helium from the capsule's propulsion system, Stephen Clark writes for Ars TechnicaContinue reading original article.

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

23 May 2024 - "The team has been in meetings for two consecutive days, assessing flight rationale, system performance, and redundancy," NASA said in a statement Tuesday night. "There is still forward work in these areas, and the next possible launch opportunity is still being discussed. NASA will share more details once we have a clearer path forward."

Engineers initially detected a helium leak during the first launch attempt for Starliner's crewed test flight on 6 May, but managers deemed it insignificant and proceeded with the launch preparations. However, a separate issue with a pressure regulation valve on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket ultimately led officials to scrub the launch.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were already seated inside the Starliner spacecraft on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida when the 6 May countdown was halted. Wilmore and Williams then returned to their homes in Houston to await the next launch opportunity.

ULA transported the Atlas V rocket back to its hangar, where technicians replaced the faulty valve in preparation for another launch attempt on 17 May. NASA and Boeing postponed the launch date to 21 May and then to 25 May as engineers continued to evaluate the helium leak. The Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft remain inside ULA's Vertical Integration Facility, awaiting the next launch attempt.

Related: NASA assigns two for crewed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner

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Jamie Whitney, Senior Editor
Military + Aerospace Electronics

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