NASA Boeing Launch on May 19: Boeing’s Starliner capsule is now ready to retry a critical test launch to the International Space Station on May 19, according to officials.
The spaceship’s second unmanned flight, known as OFT-2, is a significant step toward making it safe for people to travel into space. In addition to SpaceX, it provides NASA with a second taxi service.
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What is the Boeing Starliner?
Boeing, which received a $4.2 billion contract for the test in 2014, attempted it again in 2019 but was unable to reach the ISS due to software issues that caused the flight to fail. Yet, news recently announces NASA Boeing Launch on May 19.
There have been several delays in the program since then. The mission had to be called off just a few hours before takeoff due to corrosion in the Starliner’s valves caused by high humidity.
As a result, Boeing and NASA moved the Starliner and its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket away from the launch pad to conduct troubleshooting.
Within a few months, investigators had identified the most likely cause of the valve malfunction: nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) oxidizer reacted with moisture in the air, producing nitric acid. The nitric acid then reacted with the aluminum housing of the valves, causing corrosion.
This made the valves difficult to operate. Now, there’s already a date NASA Boeing Launch on May 19.
Boeing and NASA officials confirmed the initial diagnosis during a conference call with reporters today (May 3). In the meantime, the mission team claims to have solved the problem.
“I’ve been super proud of the Starliner team and the NASA team over the last eight months,” NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich said during today’s call. “It’s been a difficult eight months, but it’s very satisfying to know that we’ve solved the oxidizer isolation valves problem and are on our way to launch.”
Valve repair is a multi-tiered process. Moreover, Michelle Parker, vice president and deputy general manager of Boeing Space and Launch, explained how technicians sealed up “a potential moisture path” in the valves’ electrical connectors during today’s call. She claims that the team is now using nitrogen gas to remove moisture from the valves.
Parker added, “We’ve also loaded the NTO later.” “We’ve also added—we’ve added cycling of the valves every two to five days post-load until the time we launch to ensure that the valves remain operational.”
Boeing also delivered a new service module for the OFT-2 Starliner, which was mated to the crew capsule on March 12.
According to NASA officials, if everything goes as planned on OFT-2, the Starliner will dock with the ISS about a day after launch and will remain docked for five to ten days. Thus, NASA Boeing Launch on May 19.
OFT-2 will be Starliner’s second uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station. The first time, in December 2019, Starliner encountered software issues and was unable to reach the space station.
Boeing has a NASA contract to use the Starliner to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The capsule will not be able to carry a crew until an uncrewed test flight to the orbiting lab is successfully completed; the company also hopes to complete a crewed test flight before the end of the year.
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What is the difference between Boeing and SpaceX capsule?
The Boeing Starliner capsule is a silver, somewhat squat, broad-based cone that stands slightly taller than 17 feet and is slightly smaller than 15 feet in diameter.
The SpaceX Dragon is a larger, candy-white cone-shaped capsule that stands 26.5 feet tall and has a slightly larger diameter than 13 feet.
Both spacecraft have the capacity to carry up to seven crew members, but the two Crew Dragon missions have only carried four.
The Dragon spacecraft is launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The capsule is outfitted with eight SuperDraco engines that serve as both a launch abort system and a propulsion system. The Dragon is propelled through space by 16 Draco thrusters, each of which produces 90 pounds of thrust.
The Starliner was aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in preparation for its failed orbital flight test in December 2020. The spacecraft was designed by Boeing to work with other launch vehicles, such as the Vulcan Centaur rocket and the SpaceX Falcon 9.
The operations and recovery of the Starliner and Dragon are the most notable differences.
The Starliner is designed to land on actual land after reentry. The capsule will be slowed in the following manner: It will land with three parachutes to slow it down and airbags to cushion the impact.
The Dragon was designed to land on solid ground, with its SuperDraco engines controlling the final descent after the spacecraft’s four main parachutes reduced its speed following reentry.
Later, SpaceX abandoned the plan in favor of having Dragon crash-land in the ocean, and every crew and cargo Dragon mission since then has landed in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Furthermore, it is ecpected that NASA Boeing Launch on May 19.
NASA Boeing Launch on May 19
NASA anticipates a 6:54 p.m. liftoff from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (2254 GMT). Which NASA Boeing Launch on May 19.
If OFT-2 is a success, Boeing will need to conduct another crewed test before it can be officially certified, according to Boeing’s Mark Nappi. This test is scheduled to take place by the end of 2022, according to the company.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has already transported more than 20 people to the International Space Station on its Crew Dragon capsule since its first crewed flight in 2020.
NASA has a commercial crew contract with SpaceX as well. SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, recently launched Crew-4, the agency’s fourth operational astronaut mission. The four astronauts from SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission are currently on board the station, but if all goes well, they will return to Earth early Friday morning (May 6).