Boeing has been facing a massive launch problem with its human transporter, Starliner, as its propulsion system has numerous valves that do not open. It has been a significant problem for the team, and this has led to no test flights made by the company. This was supposed to launch astronauts towards the ISS under a contract with NASA, like SpaceX's Commercial Crew.
The problem of Boeing' Starliner dates back to 2019, where its test flights were pushed further and further to where it is now. Boeing's similar problem was existent since two years ago and has carried over to now, despite the many time it had.
Boeing Starliner Launch Problem
Maybe Boeing crossed off one year of those problems, because of the pandemic and lockdown, but still, the company had a year to make it happen. However, in the recent report of the Washington Post, the Starliner still cannot produce good results on its propulsion tests.
This is not even an actual test flight and back to the ground again from Boeing.
According to its engineers, the initial problem of 13 valves not opening was reduced, as they have made its prototype open at least seven of those valves over the past moments. While this is a development for Boeing, it is not significant and enough for the company's actual human flights to the ISS.
However, in Boeing's Starliner update, the company was able to open those 13 valves and has made way to advance the spacecraft to further tests.
Now, the Starliner is at its Vertical Integration Facility where it would continue its work and soon, be able to fly the entire vehicle.
Propulsion Issues, No Flights for NASA
Propulsion Issues are a massive concern for Boeing, NASA, and the astronauts of the Commercial Crew program. Boeing is seriously lagging with its Starliner program, compared to SpaceX's Crew Dragon.
No flights would be approved for Boeing if it does not fix its propulsion issues, as well as if the company does not deliver a successful test flight. Currently, there are no releases from Boeing if they are already on their way for an actual test flight for the spacecraft, but the company is getting there.
SpaceX's Commercial Crew Program with NASA
On the other hand, SpaceX's Crew Dragon has already made three successful flights to and from the International Space Station, under NASA's Commercial Crew Program. It has successfully brought astronauts and supplies to the ISS, docking on the orbiting station in the process.
What is more iconic about it, is that it is a reusable spacecraft, and has given both SpaceX and NASA massive savings and less waste production. NASA's Commercial Crew program requires six human flights to the ISS, with at least six months of intervals.
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Written by Isaiah Richard