Boeing's first Starliner astronaut mission extended due to technical issues

Five small helium leaks detected in propulsion system of capsule currently docked at International Space Station

Anadolu Agency June 23, 2024

Boeing's first astronaut mission using its Starliner capsule has been extended once again, with the spacecraft now set to remain docked at the International Space Station (ISS) until at least July 2, a week later than the previous target date of June 26.

This extension allows Boeing and NASA additional time to address several issues that have emerged with the capsule. "We are taking our time and following our standard mission management team process," said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s

Commercial Crew Program, in an update on Friday evening (June 21). "We are letting the data drive our decision-making relative to managing the small helium system leaks and thruster performance we observed during rendezvous and docking," he added.

Starliner's current mission, known as Crew Flight Test, launched on June 5 and sent NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the ISS, where it arrived a day later.

However, the journey was not entirely smooth. During its approach to the station, Starliner experienced problems with five of its 28 reaction control system RCS thrusters, though four were eventually restored.

The mission team also identified five small helium leaks in Starliner's propulsion system. One was detected before launch but was not considered a serious issue, while the other four appeared after the capsule deployed from its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.


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