Nasa, Boeing targets June 1 for Starliner's debut crew launch

1 month ago 25

NEW DELHI:

Nasa

and

Boeing

are eyeing June 1 as the launch date for the inaugural crewed

Starliner spacecraft

mission. However, engineers are still investigating a

helium leak

and analysing its potential impact on critical aspects of the mission, according to a statement from the agency on Wednesday.
The helium leak, which was traced to a valve component on a single thruster, has caused delays in Starliner's first human spaceflight mission, which was originally scheduled for May 7.

However, the launch has been repeatedly postponed as Nasa and Boeing work to resolve the issue and conduct additional tests on the spacecraft.
Meanwhile, engineers have expanded their investigation into the leak to include an evaluation of Starliner's propulsion system and how it might be affected by the spacecraft's helium system, which is used to pressurize the fuel that powers its onboard thrusters for orbital maneuvering.

The development of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, intended to transport Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), has faced years of delays and cost overruns exceeding $1.5 billion. These ongoing challenges have highlighted Boeing's difficulties in competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX under tighter budget constraints.
Nasa astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore are set to fly on Starliner's inaugural crewed flight, which serves as a final test before Nasa can certify the spacecraft for regular missions to and from the ISS.
If the June 1 launch window is missed, the space agency has stated that Boeing has additional launch opportunities on June 2, 5, and 6.

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