Eventually, the capsule had to be removed from the launch pad. When engineers were unable to repair it on site, it eventually had to be taken back to the Boeing factory for further troubleshooting.
Boeing and NASA disagree, according to the report and comments from NASA officials at recent press conferences.
Their investigation found that moisture was entering the valves and causing ‘corrosion’ and ‘sticking’, Boeing vice president and Starliner program manager Mark Nappi told a news conference. last week. This led the company to devise a short-term solution, creating a purge system, which involves a small bag, designed to keep corrosion-causing moisture out. NASA and Boeing say they are comfortable with this solution.
“We’re in very good shape to fly this system,” Steve Stich, NASA commercial crew program manager, said last week.
But this may not be the end. Boeing revealed last week that it may eventually have to redesign the valves.
“There’s a bit more testing that we want to do, and based on those results, we’ll solidify what kind of changes we make going forward,” Nappi said. “We will probably know more in the coming months.”
If Boeing goes ahead with a more comprehensive overhaul of the valves, it’s unclear how long that will take or if it could further delay Boeing’s first astronaut mission, which at this point is years behind schedule. . Run-ins with Starliner also cost the company about half a billion dollars, according to public records.
Meanwhile, SpaceX, once seen as the overlooked competitor to NASA’s commercial crew program, has already launched six astronaut missions for NASA as well as two tourist missions. The astronaut’s maiden launch of his vehicle, the Crew Dragon, became the first to carry astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program retired in 2011.