New return date for Starliner

New return date for Starliner

New return date for Starliner the manned spacecraft with 5 leaks is still unable to return to Earth
Boeing delays, at least, until June 22 the return of astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to Earth.
The Starliner spacecraft took off on June 5 aboard the Atlas V rocket to send astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station (ISS). After a year of continuous delays, said ship took flight to obtain NASA certification for rotation missions at the station. However, even though Starliner managed to take off, NASA detected several helium leaks and problems with reaction control thrusters.

Despite these setbacks, both cosmonauts arrived safely at the ISS to study the ship, the cargo transfer systems and the operational capabilities in orbit; and they have even had to study their return to Earth, which, initially, was scheduled for June 14. However, this ‘return home’ had to be postponed to the 18th so that Wilmore and Williams could carry out a spacewalk.

Surprisingly, one day before the return, Boeing and NASA have had to delay the return to the Earth’s surface until at least June 22 , so the mission team can “finalize the departure planning and the operations”.

Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, explains in a statement that “the crew will perform additional operations to better understand the handling of the spacecraft , repeat some ‘safe harbor’ tests and evaluate piloting using the forward window” . Likewise, Boeing’s vice president and director of the Commercial Crew Program, Mark Nappi, states that they have “an incredible opportunity to spend more time on the station and conduct more tests , which provides invaluable data unique to our position.”

Boeing has detected five helium leaks

Last week, Boeing detected a fifth leak in the Starliner spacecraft and, faced with this problem, NASA began to examine “what impacts, if any, these five small leaks in the helium collectors would have on the rest of the mission.”

On the other hand, NASA said in a statement that “engineers evaluated the helium supply based on current leak rates and determined that Starliner has plenty of room to support the return trip from the station . Only seven hours of flight are needed free to perform a normal mission end, and Starliner currently has enough helium in its tanks to support 70 hours of free flight activity after undocking.”


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