After valve problems caused it to miss an opportunity to launch earlier this month on a test flight to the International Space Station, Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule returned to a processing facility at the Kennedy Space Center Thursday after being removed from its Atlas 5 launcher at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Ground teams at Cape Canaveral wheeled Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule and a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket back inside their assembly hangar Thursday for further troubleshooting of misbehaving valves inside the Starliner propulsion system. Without a quick fix, technicians will have to remove the spacecraft from the Atlas 5 rocket for more extensive work, potentially delaying the Starliner test flight by months.
The planned liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft was scrubbed Tuesday. The unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station is a prerequisite for launching astronauts on the next Starliner mission. The next launch attempt is expected at 12:57 p.m. EDT (1657 GMT) Wednesday.
United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket rolled out to pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida Thursday, moving into position for liftoff to begin a critical unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to the International Space Station. Officials postponed the Starliner launch from Friday after a problem with the newly-arrived Russian Nauka module at the station.