Stranded astronauts with no set return date for new Boeing Starliner: ScienceAlert

After a helium leak and propulsion problems in Boeing’s Starliner capsule, NASA has postponed the return date from the International Space Station.

The agency announced on Friday that it no longer had a specific date for the return. Instead, they will continue to test the pod, try to understand its problems, and see if they can make any fixes. There are plenty of supplies on the station, so there is no urgent need to return the astronauts to Earth.

NASA has decided to cancel the departure scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 due to scheduling conflicts with a series of planned spacewalks on the International Space Station, scheduled for today (Monday, June 24) and Tuesday, July 2. The delay also gives mission teams time to review payment and system data.

After years of delays and two recently canceled launch attempts, Starliner finally launched on June 5, 2024 On board are NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sonny Williams.

Although two of the spacecraft’s engines failed during flight, the spacecraft was able to reach the International Space Station and delivered 227 kg (500 lb) of cargo. in addition to, Five small leaks were also discovered in the service unitThe crew and ground teams are working through safety checks.

“We take our time and follow our standard mission management team process,” said Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. In a NASA blog post.

“We are letting data guide our decision-making regarding management of small leaks in the helium system and propulsion performance that we observed during rendezvous and docking. Additionally, given the duration of the mission, it is appropriate for us to complete an agency-wide review, similar to what was done prior to the return NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 remains in orbit after two months, documenting the agency’s formal acceptance of moving forward as planned.

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This first crewed flight of the Starliner was supposed to validate the spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), with the hope that it would work alongside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to make regular deliveries of cargo and crew to the International Space Station.

This mission is the second time the Starliner vehicle has traveled to the International Space Station and the third flight test overall. During the first unmanned test flight (OFT-1), which took place in December 2019, the Starliner was successfully launched but failed to reach the International Space Station.

After taking 61 corrective actions recommended by NASA, another attempt (OFT-2) was made on May 22, 2022. That flight successfully docked with the ISS, remaining there for four days before aborting the docking and landing at the White Sands Rocket Range in New Mexico. .

The seven Expedition 71 crew members meet with the two flight test crew members for a group photo aboard the space station. Front from left are Sonny Williams, Oleg Kononenko and Butch Wilmore. Second row from left are Alexander Grebenkin, Tracy C. Dyson and Mike Barratt. At the back are Nikolai Chub, Janet Epps, and Matthew Dominic. (NASA)

Wilmore and Williams are now working with the Expedition 71 crew, assisting with station operations as needed and completing additional objectives during the flight to obtain NASA certification for the Starliner vehicle.

Despite all the problems, the Starliner performed well in orbit while docking with the space station, Stitch said.

“We are using the additional time strategically to set the stage for some important station activities while completing preparation for Butch and Sonny’s return aboard the Starliner, and gaining valuable insight into the system upgrades we want to make post-certification,” he said. “Missions.”

Mission managers will evaluate Starliner’s future return opportunities, and NASA said they will host informational communications with mission leadership after a readiness review.

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NASA added that the Starliner is already allowed to return in the event of an emergency on the space station that requires the crew to leave orbit and return to Earth.

This article was originally published by The universe today. Read the Original article.

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