Starliner mission Return of Boeing’s first manned flight to Earth delayed due to new leaks

The company’s first manned space mission Boeingarrived on June 6 at the International Space Station (ISS), deferred his return to Earth (scheduled for this Friday) until at least June 22 due Helium leak.

The ship already had technical problems. launch from Florida, including helium leaks that delayed the mission by nearly a year.

According to Boeing, the capsule, manned astronauts Barry butcher Wilmore and Sunita Suni Williams reported five leaks of helium, a gas used in spacecraft propulsion systems to ignite engines.

The company is assessing whether these leaks will impact the service module’s helium manifolds.

“The crew will carry out additional operations to better understand the control of the ship and repeat some tests Safe Harbor and evaluate pilotage using the front window,” said NASA’s commercial crew program manager. Steve Stitch.

The US space agency planned return to Earth on Fridaybut now, in addition to leaks, it analyzes weather conditions and scheduling issues ISS, for example, spacewalks by other astronauts aboard the station.

The delay in your return is due to helium leaks; According to Boeing, five pieces of this gas leaked from the capsule.

The mission will allow Boeing to obtain the necessary certifications to operate as a second provider of cargo and crew transportation services to the ISS, as it already does. SpaceX following the million-dollar contracts both private firms signed with NASA.

The spacecraft is embedded in the ISS’s Harmony module and was scheduled to remain in the orbiting laboratory for a week before returning on June 14.

CFT Mission Crew flight tests) took off after overcoming a number of problems in the final weeks before departure, related both to the Atlas V rocket, which was thus making its first launch on a manned mission, and to a small helium leak in the craft.

NASA and Boeing planned a mission for May 6 last yearbut approximately two hours before launch, an anomaly was discovered in the liquid oxygen tank on the Atlas V.

However, this was not the first deferment. Starliner’s first crewed mission (which successfully completed an uncrewed flight to the ISS in May 2022) was scheduled to launch in July 2023, but a month earlier, managers announced an indefinite delay to takeoff to resolve a problem with the ship’s parachute.

If the mission is successful, NASA will complete the certification process by the end of this year, in which case Boeing plans to first operational flight to the ISS in February 2025..

SpaceX, from Elon Musk, has flown 13 crewed spaceflights on its Dragon capsule since May 2020, including four for commercial customers, twelve of which were to the ISS. In total, it carried 50 people, including astronauts, cosmonauts and private citizens.

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