Boeing is now setting up to start the 2nd uncrewed examination flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft no earlier than December, the enterprise announced Friday (Aug. 28).
The mission, identified as Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2), will be Boeing’s next try at launching its new astronaut taxi to the International Area Station, adhering to a partial failure that prevented the Starliner spacecraft from achieving the station all through the OFT-1 mission in December 2019.
After the company has shown that the new area motor vehicle can safely ferry astronauts to and from the house station, it will be in a position to commence launching astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as June 2021, NASA officials claimed in a assertion.
Starliner’s 1st crewed mission, known as Crew Flight Examination, will mail NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson to the area station. If that crewed exam flight is successful, Boeing could start off traveling operational crewed missions as shortly as December 2021, NASA additional in the statement.
Boeing’s first operational crewed flight, identified as Starliner 1, will bring NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada to the area station. All Starliner missions will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Power Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Boeing and NASA at first prepared to fly Starliner’s Crew Flight Exam mission in mid-2020, but the mission was delayed after Boeing determined to redo the Orbital Flight Examination. For the duration of its first check flight in December 2019, a sequence of specialized complications still left the Starliner spacecraft stranded in the incorrect orbit and unable to attain the place station. So, rather of docking with the orbiting lab, Starliner returned to Earth following just two days in space.
Next the problematic exam flight, NASA and Boeing fashioned an independent evaluate staff to look into the cause of OFT-1’s partial failure. That investigation, which wrapped up in July, located that two big software faults and a short term fall in communications through the exam flight were mainly responsible for the partial failure, and the investigators determined 80 “corrective steps” for Boeing to address in advance of the future Starliner mission. Boeing has so considerably tackled virtually 75% of people duties, NASA reported in the statement.
Even though the Starliner spacecraft is designed to be reused, Boeing will use a model new Starliner for the OFT-2 mission. The new capsule will deliver “further on-orbit experience for the operational teams prior to flying missions with astronauts,” NASA said in the statement. The OFT-1 Starliner capsule, nicknamed “Calypso,” will fly all over again on the Starliner 1 mission.
Boeing has put in this summertime assembling the new Starliner capsule for OFT-2 and is presently introducing a couple finishing touches just before the spacecraft is all set to fly. Meanwhile, Boeing’s computer software staff in Houston is wrapping up the modifications to Starliner’s flight codes that were advised by the impartial evaluate staff. The software package group is at the moment planning to perform a absolutely integrated, finish-to-stop rehearsal exam with Starliner and the Atlas V rocket — a take a look at that Boeing was criticized for skipping right before the problematic OFT-1 mission.
Whilst Boeing is still functioning to exhibit that its new astronaut taxi can safely transport crews to and from the room station, SpaceX is gearing up for its to start with operational Crew Dragon mission to the station, Crew-1, subsequent the company’s prosperous Demo-2 mission, which despatched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the space station in May possibly.
After the area shuttle application ended in 2011, NASA contracted both of those SpaceX and Boeing to launch astronauts from U.S. soil, thus lessening NASA’s dependence on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get astronauts to the space station.
Email Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or abide by her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.