NASA to pause return of Boeing Starliner from ISS for technical review

NASA to pause return of Boeing Starliner from ISS for technical review
NASA to pause return of Boeing Starliner from ISS for technical review

JAKARTA – NASA has once again postponed the return of the Boeing Starliner from the International Space Station (ISS) with its first crew of astronauts to give more time to examine the technical problems they face. This was announced by the space agency on Friday June 21.

NASA has not yet set a new date, raising questions about the timing of the return of the two astronauts from Boeing’s first pilot mission originally scheduled for June 26, after previously postponing from the first potential date of June 14.

“The mission manager is evaluating possibilities for future return after two planned space activities at the station on June 24 and July 2,” NASA said in a statement.

American astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams stepped out June 5 for a final demonstration to obtain routine flight certification from NASA.

“We took our time and followed our standard mission management team process,” said Steve Stich, director of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “Starliner performs well in orbit when attached to the space station,” he added, citing that the additional time would provide “valuable knowledge” in improving the system for future missions.

The spacecraft trial, which has been tested to fly into space twice since 2019 without a human, experienced five failures on its 28 maneuverable thrusters, five leaks of helium gas used to suppress the propellant and A slow moving propellant suspect that signals unresolved issues in the past.

These problems along with additional testing by NASA and Boeing raise the question of exactly when the Starliner crew will be able to return to Earth, which lasted about six hours, adding to a larger scheduling question.

Boeing spent US$1.5 billion (IDR24.7 trillion) on additional costs outside of the NASA development contract worth US$4.5 billion (IDR74.1 trillion). NASA wants Starliner to be the second U.S. spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to the ISS, in addition to SpaceX’s Dragon crewmember, which has been the primary vehicle since 2020.

However, Boeing’s Starliner program has been plagued with software, design and contractor conflicts for years. When Starliner arrived around the space station for shelter on June 6, five propulsion failures prevented a close approach to the spacecraft until Boeing made improvements. Boeing re-released the software and adjusted some procedures to relaunch four of them and continued with revenue.

The process of releasing Starliner from the ISS and returning to Earth is the most complicated phase of this test mission. NASA officials said they wanted to better understand the causes of the propulsion failure, valve problems and helium leak before Starliner begins its return.

Although only one propellant remains dead in current Starliner flights, Boeing is experiencing four propulsion problems as the capsule returns limbless from space in 2022. Flight rules established by Boeing and NASA require that the propulsions Starliner maneuvering systems allow for “at least six degrees of freedom of control,” and each has one propulsion in reserve, a NASA spokesperson said. This means that at least 12 of the 28 propulsions, mainly reserves, are required for safe flight.

Tag: nasa boeing luar angkasa iss

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