Starliner Capsule Manned Flight Delayed to 2019 by Boeing

Only days after NASA said it will be announcing the names of the astronauts that will form the crews of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon flights, Boeing said it will be delaying its first mission.
Boeing CST-100 Starliner 1 photo
Photo: Boeing
Initially scheduled to take place this August, the launch of the uncrewed Starliner capsule has been postponed to either late 2018 or early 2019. That means the crewed pad abort and flight tests would also have to be delayed.

Boeing says the decision has been made following a test in June when the capsule’s propulsion systems suffered an “anomaly” that led to the engine's valves failing to close fully.

The fault did not affect the results of the test conducted by Boeing, but the company has to make sure everything works as it should before placing humans in harm’s way.

The Starliner is similar in size to the Orion capsule being built for NASA by another competitor in the field, Lockheed Martin. It has a diameter of 4.56 meters (15.0 ft), bigger than the Apollo used in the early days of space exploration.

It can accommodate a crew of up to seven astronauts and has been designed to stay in space for periods of up to seven months. The capsule is to be the first in American history to be reusable, meaning it should be good for ten missions before replacing.

The reentry of the capsule will happen at speeds reaching as much as 17 times the speed of sound. After the Starliner is back in the Earth sky, parachutes would deploy and slow it down to a speed similar to that of a skyscraper elevator.

Once ready for service, the Starliner would become one of the capsules used by NASA for its low-orbit missions.

As the number of habitable platforms put by humans in space will increase, Boeing plans to make the capsule available to “a variety of passengers, including international and corporate astronauts, scientists, researchers, educators and even tourists.”
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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