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Postponing the return of the Boeing “Starliner” plane to Earth

Postponing the return of the Boeing “Starliner” plane to Earth

Cape Canaveral (awp International) – NASA and Boeing postponed the return of the Starliner space capsule from the International Space Station to Earth. The US space agency announced this late Friday (local time). The last date for the return flight was June 26. NASA did not set a new date, but it indicated in its publication that the return of the “Starliner” with astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sonny Williams should not take place before July. Initially, two spacewalks were planned, among others.

The manned Starliner spacecraft docked at the International Space Station two weeks ago. But on the way there, he had to suffer from many technical problems. For example, a helium leak occurred. After engine problems, the spacecraft suffering from the crisis was unable to dock with the International Space Station except on the second attempt. Then the NASA astronauts went out and got to know the other astronauts stationed aboard the International Space Station. The two were actually supposed to stay in space for about a week.

“Starliner” is a partially reusable spacecraft consisting of a capsule about three meters high for the crew and a service module, and unlike “Crew Dragon” from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, it does not land on water but on land. After years of delay, it took off on a manned test flight for the first time two weeks ago. “Starliner”, developed and manufactured by American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, completed a successful unmanned flight to the International Space Station for the first time in 2022. In the future, it will take astronauts to the International Space Station as an alternative to the “Crew Dragon” space capsule.

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Among other things, NASA said in a blog post that the postponement provides time to “verify propulsion system data.” There is no time pressure to leave the International Space Station, even with sufficient supplies on board. In the event of an emergency on the International Space Station, Starliner is ready to bring astronauts to Earth./ddo/DP/he