The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Boeing have announced a potential date for the test launch of the CST-100 Starliner. The potential test launch date will be sometime in the first half of 2022.
It can be recalled that the Starliner's Orbital Flight Test-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was supposed to launch in August but things did not go as expected due to 13 faulty valves that did not open up during countdown.
The Starliner's August launch date was also due to a delay caused by the Nauka module. Prior to the August launch date, the Starliner was supposed to launch to the ISS in July.
NASA, Boeing Announce Potential Starliner Test Launch
NASA and Boeing have announced that the next uncrewed test launch to the International Space Station (ISS) for the CST-100 Starliner may happen in the first half of 2022.
"The team currently is working toward opportunities in the first half of 2022 pending hardware readiness, the rocket manifest, and space station availability," NASA said in its announcement.
According to a report by Gizmodo, "NASA and Boeing will be analyzing potential flight opportunities for next year alongside United Launch Alliance, the manufacturer behind the Atlas V rocket that will launch the Starliner, and the Eastern Range, the Space Force entity in charge of East Coast launches."
The Delayed Orbital Flight Test-2 Mission
The CST-100 Starliner was initially scheduled for launch back in July, but was delayed due to the malfunctioning of Nauka, a Russian module.
The launch date was then moved to August, which was also delayed due to 13 of the Starliner's oxidizing valves malfunctioning as well. Per the report by Gizmodo, the 13 valves of the propulsion system did not open during the countdown.
According to the report, NASA initially rescheduled the launch of the Starliner to the ISS after the launch of its Lucy spacecraft on October 16. Even at that time, Gizmodo notes that Boeing was not certain it could happen at that time.
The Boeing Starliner
According to the Boeing website, the Starliner has been developed "in collaboration with NASA's Commercial Crew Program." The Starliner can accommodate seven passengers or a combination of crew and cargo for low-Earth orbit missions.
For missions to the International Space Station, the Starliner can accommodate four NASA astronauts as well as scientific research to be brought to the ISS.
"The Starliner has an innovative, weldless structure and is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time," according to the Boeing website.
According to the report by Gizmodo, Boeing's Starliner has completed only one uncrewed test flight. Its first uncrewed test flight took place in 2019. It was supposed to head to the ISS, but failed to do so due to a software failure.
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Written by Isabella James