Glex Summit 2024 - Banner

NASA Targets May 17 as New Launch Date for Boeing Flight Test

Atlas V. Credit: NASA

Ibadan, 9 May 2024. – NASA has announced the postponement of Boeing’s first crewed space flight following a data review which saw United Launch Alliance (ULA) decide to replace a pressure regulation valve on the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage. The Flight Test will now aim to launch no earlier than 6:16 p.m. EDT Friday, May 17, to the International Space Station. Boeing is aiming to become the second private firm to provide crew transport to and from the ISS after SpaceX became the first in 2020.

ULA plans to roll the rocket, with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, back to its Vertical Integration Facility to begin the replacement. The ULA team will consequently perform leak checks and functional checkouts in support of the next launch attempt. Furthermore, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will remain in crew quarters at NASA Kennedy in quarantine until the next launch opportunity. The duo will be the first to launch aboard Starliner to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Flight Test will carry Wilmore and Williams to the space station for about a week to test the Starliner spacecraft and its subsystems before NASA certifies the transportation system for rotational missions to the orbiting laboratory for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The astronauts will join the seven astronauts and cosmonauts already on board the ISS while the Starliner remains docked outside before returning home aboard the same Starliner capsule.

The oscillating behavior of the pressure valve during prelaunch operations resulted in mission teams calling a launch scrub. After evaluating the valve history, data signatures from the launch attempt, and assessing the risks, the ULA team determined the valve exceeded its qualification and mission managers agreed to remove and replace the valve.

Check Also

SSC and Perigee Aerospace

SSC and Perigee Aerospace to Launch Satellites From Esrange

The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and South Korean rocket company Perigee Aerospace Inc. have signed a collaborative agreement to launch satellites jointly from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, starting in 2025. Perigee’s Blue Whale 1 micro launcher will consequently be the first-ever orbital rocket to launch from Esrange.