Takeoff of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft canceled on the final minute | EUROtoday

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LThe takeoff of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft was canceled this Saturday lower than 4 minutes earlier than launch, attributable to a technical drawback. This is the second postponement of takeoff in lower than a month for this mission, which ought to permit Starliner to move NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for the primary time.

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Boeing stakes its repute

Takeoff was scheduled for 12:25 p.m. from Cape Canaveral in Florida (4:25 p.m. GMT). NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, two area veterans, had been put in aboard the Starliner capsule positioned atop an Atlas V rocket from the ULA group. But the countdown was stopped on the final second by a system that was triggered robotically, for a purpose nonetheless unknown, NASA defined.

Fallback dates for takeoff are theoretically potential on Sunday, in addition to subsequent Wednesday or Thursday, however the evaluation of the issue encountered have to be carried out earlier than a brand new date may be introduced.

Ten years in the past, NASA ordered two new automobiles from American corporations Boeing and SpaceX to move its astronauts to the Space Station (ISS). SpaceX has already been taking part in this function of area taxi for 4 years. Already shaken by security issues on its planes, Boeing is playing its repute on this take a look at mission, which should serve to reveal that its ship is secure earlier than beginning common missions to the ISS. For NASA, the stakes are additionally excessive: having a second automobile would permit it to higher handle potential emergency conditions.

New setback

But the cancellation is a brand new setback for this mission, which has already fallen years delayed. At the start of May, the takeoff had already been canceled on the final second attributable to an issue with a valve on the rocket, which has since been modified.

A small helium leak was then found on one of many ship's thrusters. But Boeing and NASA determined to not restore it, which might require dismantling Starliner. “We really think we can handle this leak,” Steve Stich, head of NASA's industrial human spaceflight program, stated Friday. It didn’t develop throughout preparations for the flight Saturday morning, the company stated. These setbacks had been simply the most recent in a sequence of disagreeable surprises.

In 2019, throughout a primary uncrewed take a look at, the spacecraft couldn’t be positioned on the proper trajectory and returned with out reaching the ISS. Then in 2021 an issue with blocked valves on the capsule led to the postponement of a brand new try. The empty automobile lastly managed to achieve the ISS in May 2022. Other issues subsequently found, notably with the parachutes braking the capsule throughout its return to the ambiance, once more prompted delays.