Next Starliner Launch Bumped To 2022

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NASA and Boeing have announced that the next launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has been pushed back to next year while the company works to correct an oxidizer isolation valve issue on the vehicle’s service module propulsion system. The problem was discovered last August when unexpected valve position indications caused the cancellation of an uncrewed launch. New launch windows for Starliner’s next mission, called Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), are still being assessed.

“Safety of the Starliner spacecraft, our employees, and our crew members is this team’s number one priority,” said John Vollmer, Boeing vice president and Starliner program manager. “We are taking the appropriate amount of time to work through the process now to set this system up for success on OFT-2 and all future Starliner missions.”

Starliner also experienced software problems during its first orbital flight test in December 2019, resulting in the capsule failing to make its intended orbit and plans to re-fly the mission. Part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the spacecraft is currently slated for the uncrewed OFT-2 mission and a crewed flight test along with six crew rotation missions to the International Space Station. As previously reported by AVweb, NASA reassigned astronauts scheduled for Starliner missions earlier this month.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. NASA contracted Boeing and SpaceX for 8 flights each -two test flights (one unmanned – which Boeing is trying to repeat due to the first’s grand failure), and six operational flights.
    SpaceX is about to launch their third operational flight (of six) in the next week or so. At this rate, they will have completed all six before Boeing achieves their first operational flight!
    The two providers were expected to operate in parallel, not serially.

  2. So it’s now possible, if not likely, that Starship will make an orbit of earth before either Starliner or SLS make their flights. Looking at the timeline, and what each company had to start with, it’s time to eat the sunk cost. It just is.

  3. Boeing has had a series of set backs that seem to drag out programs longer then they should go. Pegasus tanker and FOD/re-fueling issues. The next Air Force One (VC-25B). Starliner. 737, 777, 787 issues..
    Yeah, might be time to pull the plug and eat the cost.

  4. While pulling the plug may be the smart choice here, it isn’t likely to happen. NASA can’t afford to dump Boeing. The political ramifications would be a firestorm of angry politicians who owe loyalty to Boeing’s campaign contributions. Just like Lockheed and the F-35 (another boondoggle that should be dumped), Boing has too many subcontractors and offices in too many political districts to let that happen.