Boeing’s 2nd Starliner test flight, which was initially scheduled for 2nd April, has been delayed again. The first delay of the launch came a few days back when the target was shifted from March 25th to 2nd April. This is a piece of difficult news for the company as Boeing is probably the best competitor to SpaceX. And even they are much behind the company in terms of technology. The most recent announcement about the delay was made on March 4th by both NASA and Boeing combined.
Reasons for the delay
Boeing’s 2nd Starliner test flight comes after the first one, was a catastrophic failure. The starliner had a lot of issues with its software, and the company had to work on a lot. But this means that the 2nd launch wasn’t something they could have just done quickly. And the frequent winter storms, power cuts in Houston has delayed the entire process of their work. There was also the requirement to replace the avionic boxes in the spacecraft. So now it is expected that the launch flight will be happening in late April and could even be further delayed.
NASA is also working very closely with Boeing to make sure that nothing goes wrong in this 2nd test flight. They are increasing the verification and the validation required in order to approve the 2nd test flight. Another important reason for the delay is there is no room for the starliner on or around April 2. There will come already by the Russian Soyuz at the International Space Station, and the SpaceX crew-2 mission is also supposed to happen around the time.
Boeing working on the latest flight
The last test flight mission conducted by Boeing happened in December 2019. And the uncrewed mission was a total failure. This was because the Starliner wasn’t even able to reach the ISS. At the time, NASA identifies 80 different problems with the spacecraft and asked the company to fix them before having a 2nd test flight. And since then, Boeing has been working hard to fix those issues. It has been conducting several dry runs and practising the mission from end-to-end. Stimulation of the mission will also be performed that will be closely observed by NASA.
Once Boeing is able to perfect the starliner spacecraft and has a perfect test flight, NASA will use the spacecraft alongside SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts to the ISS. This will let NASA save a lot of money because, till now, it was dependent on the Russian Soyuz to carry astronauts to space. And that used to cost a lot. In fact, compared to the Russian Soyuz, the new spacecraft developed by SpaceX will have one more seat.
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