Boeing Co.

BA -0.47%

Executives said the company’s Starliner spacecraft may not carry astronauts until the end of next year, potentially a year behind an earlier date to put humans in orbit for NASA.

After the first half of 2022 If a demonstration flight was completed without crew members, a test mission with astronauts could take place “perhaps by the end of the year”. corresponding

Johannes Vollmer,

a Boeing program manager overseeing the Starliner.

Last summer, before stuck valves Boeing and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration postponed a scheduled launch, the agency and company believed the Starliner would be released by the end of the year Astronauts on a test mission to the International Space Station.

Mr. Vollmer’s comments came at a briefing Tuesday when Boeing and NASA officials offered details about their work to find out why some of the Starliner’s valves Drive system got stuck and botched the planned start in August. Boeing and the space agency postponed this flight because of the problem.

Michelle Parker,

Boeing’s chief aerospace and take-off engineer said Tuesday that the most likely cause of the valve problem was a corrosive substance created by the combination of moisture and oxidizer.

Moisture is the likely source of moisture associated with the oxidizer interacted, said Ms. Parker. She said the company takes moisture into account when sourcing parts from suppliers and has a flushing system that keeps the valves dry.

Boeing has already struggled with setbacks on the Starliner. Almost two years ago, when the ship first attempted to launch the ship without crew members, a software error prevented the Starliner from reaching the correct orbit. The company had previously booked a $ 410 million fee in connection with taking on the launch.

In 2014, NASA contracted Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name of Elon Musks, to do SpaceX the development of spacecraft that could take astronauts to the space station and bring them back to Earth. At the time, the agency had no other option to transport people to the research facility than to buy seats on Russian government rockets.

SpaceX received astronauts last year for the first time since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011 transported from the US to the space station and brought it back. The company has completed additional manned missions to the space station and is scheduled to bring four astronauts to the research facility this month and more to the ground in November.

Steve Stich,

a program manager at NASA finally said the space agency wants Boeing and SpaceX to fly annually each, part of the agency’s goal of having two spacecraft that could reach the space station.

“We’re looking forward to the Day on which we board the flights where we are handed over from a SpaceX vehicle in orbit to a Boeing vehicle and vice versa, ”said Mr Stich.

Two of the stuck valves have been removed from the vehicle and will be Sent to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for analysis, officials said Tuesday.

Appeared in the print edition of October 20, 2021 as “Boeing Delays Astronaut Flight Further”.

Ref: https://www.wsj.com