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Boeing Starliner Spacecraft Flight Delayed Until 2022

Starliner Spacecraft continue to have trouble making it to the International Space Station, with its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 to the ISS now getting pushed into next year. The test is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which sees the space agency working with private companies like Boeing and SpaceX to shuttle astronauts to the station.

NASA said Friday that the team behind the orbital Flight test is working toward launch opportunities in the first half of 2022. That follows a scrubbed launch this past August. The first major Starliner Spacecraft test didn’t go as planned, with the uncrewed spacecraft launching but experiencing a timing glitch and failing to reach the ISS. It did, however, safely return to Earth.

NASA said that the issue now, with orbital Flight test 2, has to do with an oxidizer isolation valve issue on the Starliner service module propulsion system. Steve Stich, manager of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said that this is a complex issue involving hazardous commodities and intricate areas of the spacecraft that are not easily accessed. It has taken a methodical approach and sound engineering to effectively examine. Artemis calls for putting the first woman and next man on the moon sometime soon and eventually setting up sustainable exploration there.

SpaceX and its Crew Dragon spacecraft have had better luck than Boeing when it comes to the Commercial Crew Program. After some delays of its own, the Elon Musk-founded company completed its Demo-1 uncrewed test mission in 2019 and has since shuttled astronauts to the ISS several times.

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