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Boeing confirms delay of first Starliner crew flight test flight to August – Spaceflight Now



This image shows one of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner's three capsules during an environmental test campaign in El Segundo, Calif., Which exposes the spacecraft to a thermal, acoustic, and electromagnetic environment that will experience a flight. Boeing announced on Tuesday that the first orbital test flight of its commercial capsule, Starliner, will be postponed until August to "avoid unnecessary pressure in the schedule" and to give priority to the Atlas 5 rocket manifesto Air Force Communications Satellite

A statement by Boeing on Tuesday confirmed earlier reports that the company's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft designed and built under NBA's $ 4.2 billion contract will miss its previous release date unmanned test flight to Inter Arod Space Station in April. NASA and industry sources have been saying for months that the release date in April is not feasible, but NASA and Boeing have not published an officially revised schedule since early February. In Boeing's updated schedule, posted on Tuesday, the company said it expects the crew's flight test to happen "later this year," but sources say Starliner can fly with astronauts early in November.

Hotfire test of the Starliner In the coming months it is planned to abandon engines delayed last year after running out of fuel on the test bench at NASA's White Sands test center in New Mexico. This will be followed by a White Sands pad break test during the summer period before Starliner's first space mission, according to Rebecca Riegan, a Boeing spokesman.

The Suspension Brake Test will test the four Starliner spark ignition engines. can send the capsule and astronauts on board away from a damaged rocket. The pad break test was previously planned between Starliner's first orbital mission, called the orbital flight test, and the first crew mission to the capsule. Earlier in the development of the spacecraft, Boeing initially intended to perform a pad break test before the two test fields to the space station, but officials mixed the sequence after an anomaly from last year's hot fire test. on the top of the Atlas 5 rocket. Creditline: United Launch Alliance / Boeing

With the updated schedule released on Tuesday, Starliner's orbital flight test will be transferred to the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket manifesto at Cape Canaveral from the fifth modern high-speed air satellite has been held until June 27 for several months. Boeing said Starliner's orbital flight test had little chance of launching in the first week of May to clear the Atlas 5 launch site in Cape Canaveral before the AEHF 5.

"To avoid unnecessary timing, interferes with critical national security, and allows for an appropriate boundary of schedule to ensure that the Boeing, United Launch Alliance and NASA teams can successfully launch the first launch of Starliner, we have made the most responsible solution available to us and will be ready for the next launch site available in August, while still allowing a flight crew test later this year, "Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing Chris Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut commanding the last space shuttle mission in 2011, will join NASA Crew Mike Finke and Nicole Man for the Flight Crew Flight Mission

CST- 100 Boeing Starliner is one of two commercially designed crew capsules funded by NASA astronauts from and to the space station. SpaceWorks Crew Dragon Spacecraft launched a six-day test flight to the space station on March 2nd, demonstrating its capabilities before the second test as soon as NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Hurley boarded up in July. on Earth under parachutes 8 March to descend into the Atlantic

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft is approaching the International Docking Space Station on March 3rd. Credit: NASA

While the SpaceX crew is launched at the top of the Falcon 9 rocket and returns to the sea, the CST-100 Starliner will fly aboard 5 Atlas missiles built by the United Launch Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. At the end of each mission, Starliner will return with a parachute to the Land of Landing in the Western States.

SpaceX originally intended to re-use the crew's Dragon for multiple missions to the space station, but officials have given up on this plan, at least for now, after redesigning the Ocean Landing Capsule. Boeing says each CST-100 crew capsule can fly up to 10 times in space.

After completing their test flights, the Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will begin regular crew flights to the space station where you will remain on board as emergency rescue boats up to 210 days before returning astronauts to Earth [19659003] Boeing said Tuesday that Starliner continues to make progress. The company said it recently cleared the last important stages of the test before the unpulsed demonstration flight to the space station, and the technicians "enter the final stages of production" of the vehicle for the test of orbital flights.

However, Boeing said August for Starliner's first space mission allows teams to "take the necessary time to ensure that this critical flight will be successful and will prove that our reusable vehicles will be ready to fly with many long-lasting missions throughout the life of the International Space Station. "

Starliner's team recently completed two parachute parachute tests, and one of the man-made Starliner starships recently completed a series of environmental tests in the satellite abrika of Boeing in El Segundo, California, announced by Boeing. Starliner capsules in a reconstructed space shuttle hangar at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the company plans to retrofit the Shipship between missions. The company plans to initially build two Starliner complete rotor flight crews to the spacecraft called Spacecraft 2 and Spacecraft 3.

Spacecraft 1, the first of the lines, will be used in the New York

The ecological test capsule used in El Segundo is a spacecraft 2. The battery of environmental tests has subjected the spacecraft to extremely hot and cold temperatures, vacuum conditions, electromagnetic radiation and vibration and acoustic environments in which it will has met in flight. With this test, the capsule will be sent back to Kennedy Space Center for final equipment before the flight crew flight test.

Boeing assembles a spacecraft 3 for the orbital flight test. includes the Boeing CST-100 Starliner main orbital flight test pressure vessel. This is one of the last important stages of spacecraft assembly 3 before final furnishing and finishing, as Starliner prepares for its first mission scheduled for August. Credit: Boeing

Leakage in Starliner's stopping engines last June led to months of delays in the program, while engineers were simultaneously exploring boeing parachute and pyrotechnical systems issues. The delays eventually caused Boeing to drop months after SpaceX when he released the first space mission of his crew's capsule.

Boeing and SpaceX are working on many different issues related to their propulsion systems and, furthermore, both suppliers continue to improve, NASA's former astronaut Sandy Magnus said on March 7 at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Board aerospace safety. "This is a critical element of the safety design that is a constant challenge for both of us."

Boeing said the company is approaching the finish line to overcome the challenges of propulsion and parachute.

"With a complete environmental test, we now need only one parachute qualification test, a hot service fire test and a pad break test before we are fully qualified to fly our crew flight test" "Boeing said," None of these tests is needed before an unarmed orbital flight test. "

But Boeing said his team wanted to fly with spaceships ready for the crew to test for unapplied. and collecting data with high accuracy as we can to make these important flight tests before turning the vehicles and preparing them for regular long-term missions, "said the company in a statement at a 2015 site test, demonstrating that the ship's exit means to avoid SuperDraco are entitled to make the spacecraft come out of the rocket on the ground in case of an incident during the countdown In summer, a flight disruption test is planned before the first crew mission with astronauts to assess the capability of the capsule to escape from a high altitude rocket. required by NASA by any company, and Boeing chose to abandon it.

The crew of the crew who flew to the space station last month started with a large part of the life-support system of the spacecraft, including air redoing equipment to regulate the oxygen and the carbon dioxide spacecraft. Crew and display screens were also flying, but the displays were not activated and functional, according to Hans Koningman, SpaceX vice president for assembling and flight reliability.

The crew of the touch screen, the buttons and the toilet will be added.

SpaceX also plans to add heaters to the Crew Dragon propulsion system to keep the fuel too cold, which could cause a stroke or vibration that could damage Draco's push-control capsule drives. Speaking at the safety panel meeting last month, Magnus said SpaceX and Boeing were pursuing different plans for their test flights.

"It is not possible to directly compare the two untreated fields and the stages they perform. Magnus said. "They are different for different reasons for each supplier. Each supplier has directed different goals and is based on the concept of their work and the philosophy of design. "

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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