communications relay login

Boeing Starliners' Flight Test Postponed Indefinitely

Unexpected valve position indications on the CST-100 Starliner's propulsion system prompted a delay.

By Silek Sat 07 Aug, 2021 4:17 PM
Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test –2, the second uncrewed flight capsule test, has been delayed...again.

In a statement last Tuesday NASA explained, “Unexpected valve position indications on the CST-100 Starliner's propulsion system prompted a delay.” The statement continues to detail some steps NASA had already taken to address the seemingly misdirected valves, including the possibility of software issues, but after “cycling the service module propulsion system valves,” no answers were found on the pad.

NASA is now indefinitely postponing this Orbital Flight Test –2 and moving the entire United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with the Starliner fully attached, to the Vertical Integration facility at Cape Canaveral, FL.

This is the second time this test has been delayed.

On Friday July, 29 the newly arrived Russian Nauka module began unexpectedly firing its thrusters after docking with the ISS. While it has been described as an intense three hours, they were able to apply counter thrust and stabilize the station with no reported damage.

NASA has no timetable on addressing the issues of this most recent delay but it seems to represent what a lot of observers are calling a pattern carelessness, either structurally, or internally as a team capable of making something like this work from start to finish.

Boeing is marked as representing NASA's plan B, and there is no amount of money that will not be made available to assure that this in fact, does become the case.

Unlike some of the other actors on this stage, the scrutiny of budgets, executive leadership quirks, and lack of any real rivalry for the number 2 spot, Boeing's projects, and those like it, often feel a little less transparent.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

1 Comment
Sat 07 Aug, 2021 6:08 PM
It is encouraging to hear they are at least taking their time and being cautious here. Large, older companies like Boeing often tend to be pretty conservative and relatively risk adverse almost to a fault, so the relative lack of transparency isn't too surprising, especially given the serious issues that made headlines for the company a few years with the 737 Max aircraft.