Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft’s valves may have frozen because they couldn’t handle Florida’s humidity, according to a report by United Press International. UPI quotes NASA and Boeing spokespeople as saying the famous Florida stickiness may have caused corrosion in the valves that kept them from functioning prior to a an uncrewed test launch of the capsule in August. The fuel oxidizer that flows through some of those valves apparently reacted to the humidity and the resulting corrosion locked up the valves.
“It was a humid time of year, in August,” Michelle Parker, Boeing’s chief engineer for space and launch systems, said. “We had looked at the humidity, and we’ve physically seen some evidence of condensation within the service module.” Boeing is reportedly looking at adding heaters to the valves or using desiccants to soak up the moisture to fix the problem. NASA spokesman Steve Stich said the agency remains confident Boeing will sort out the issue. “We have every confidence that Boeing will be flying crew soon,” he told UPI.