Boeing Starliner launch delayed to late May to fix helium leak

May 18 (UPI) — Boeing’s first crewed space flight was delayed again on Friday due to an ongoing helium leak.

Now the spaceship Scheduled to depart on May 25 After NASA canceled the launch pad for Mars.

A delay gives the team time Also assess a small helium leak In the spacecraft’s service module, the company said.

It’s the latest in a series of delays for Boeing’s Starliner mission, which was supposed to send NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Willmore and Sunita “Sunny” Williams to the International Space Station.

Starliner teams The leak was discovered on Wednesday. NASA said the leak was stable and did not pose a risk during flight, adding that the Boeing system was trying to develop procedures to ensure “adequate performance capability and appropriate redundancy were maintained during flight.”

The May 6 launch was scrapped due to a faulty oxygen tank pressure regulation valve on the ULA Atlas V rocket that would send Starliner into space from NASA’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Wilmore and Williams have been quarantined in Houston and are scheduled to fly back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida closer to the new launch date, the agency said.

Boeing’s first crewed Starliner mission About four years late. The first unmanned mission ended in 2019 after the spacecraft failed to rendezvous with the ISS. Boeing overhauled the program with major software and hardware updates and launched a successful mission in 2022.

The company has a more than $4 billion contract with NASA under the agency’s Commercial Group program, which replaced the space shuttle program after it ended in 2011.

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Meanwhile, the contract with NASA is worth $2.6 billion, and SpaceX has sent 50 people into space in 13 successful missions.

Boeing still has many problems to deal with on Earth. The company’s commercial aviation division has come under intense scrutiny after a door plug flew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 in January.

Several other problems with the Max 737 have been reported since January. The Justice Department said it would open a criminal investigation into the Alaska Airlines incident.

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