x

Science

Boeing Calls off Its First Astronaut Launch Because of Valve Issue on Rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing called off its first astronaut launch because of a valve problem on the rocket Monday night.

The two NASA test pilots had just strapped into Boeing’s Starliner capsule for a flight to the International Space Station when the countdown was halted, just two hours before the planned liftoff.

United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said an oxygen pressure-relief valve on the upper stage of the company’s Atlas rocket started fluttering open and close, creating a loud buzz.

The valve may have exceeded its 200,000 lifetime cycles, Bruno said, which means it would have to be replaced, pushing the launch into next week. But if engineers can determine the valve is still within that limit, the launch team could try again as soon as Friday.

It was the latest delay for Boeing’s first crew flight, on hold for years because of capsule trouble.

Bruno said similar valve trouble had occurred in years past on a few other Atlas rockets launching satellites. It was quickly resolved by turning the troublesome valves off and back on. But the company has stricter flight rules for astronaut flights, prohibiting valve recycling when a crew is on board.

“And so we stayed with the rules and the procedures, and scrubbed as a result,” Bruno said at a press conference.

NASA’s commercial crew program manager Steve Stich acknowledged it was a tough call.

“We’re taking it one step at a time, and we’re going to launch when we’re ready and fly when it’s safe to do so,” Stich told reporters.

Within minutes of the countdown halting, Boeing’s new astrovan was back at the launch pad to retrieve Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams from their pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Starliner’s first test flight without a crew in 2019 failed to reach the space station and Boeing had to repeat the flight. Then the company encountered parachute issues and flammable tape.

NASA hired Boeing and SpaceX a decade ago to ferry astronauts to and from the space station after the shuttle program ended, paying the private companies billions of dollars. SpaceX has been in the orbital taxi business since 2020.

___
By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

RELATED

ORONO, Maine (AP) — As waves grew and gusts increased, a wind turbine bobbed gently, its blades spinning with a gentle woosh.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

What is proven, and quite clearly indeed by the article which is published in this edition of The National Herald titled ‘Church of Crete Sends Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Telling Him Not to Interfere’, regarding the ongoing issues within the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, is the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a captive of his own choices in general.

BOSTON – The Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, through its Holy Eparchial Synod, sent a letter on Tuesday, April 30 to Patriarch Bartholomew in response to his inquiry about his rights regarding the Patriarchal Monasteries of the island, telling him not to interfere administratively with them, according to information obtained by The National Herald.

Fifty years ago, Syrian President Hafiz al-Assad hosted U.

‘A healthy diet’ is often a complex term, because as science progresses, research becomes more abundant, information becomes complex, and it's difficult to navigate.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.