Boeing’s ailing Starliner spacecraft could face further delays after the company said Thursday it was working to resolve issues with the propulsion system.
The spacecraft’s last launch date of August 4 has been canceled due to propulsion issues, and it’s still unclear when the next test flight will be scheduled.
“Over the past two days, our team has taken the time necessary to safely access and test the affected valves, and not let the launch window dictate our pace,” said John Vollmer, vice president and general manager of Starliner program.
The problem is the latest to delay development of the capsule, which Boeing built under contract with NASA to transport astronauts to low-earth orbit after the space shuttle program ended.
Boeing must pass an unmanned test flight before flying humans.
SpaceX, the other company that won a multibillion-dollar contract from NASA for cab rides to the International Space Station (ISS), has now embarked on three crewed missions.
Boeing said in a statement it will work with NASA to confirm a new launch date when the spacecraft is ready.
During a first unmanned test flight in December 2019, the Starliner capsule experienced problems with its thrusters.
He did not have enough fuel to reach the International Space Station and had to return to Earth prematurely.
© 2021 AFP
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