Last December, Boeing launched the unmanned Starliner spacecraft for NASA. However, due to technical problems, the mission did not proceed as planned. Starliner is expected to send astronauts from the U.S. mainland to the International Space Station in the near future as part of NASA’s commercial crew launch mission. The latest news is that Boeing has planned another orbital flight test to verify the quality of the Starliner vehicle.
CST-100 Starliner (Photo: NASA / Bill Ingalls)
The United States has not carried astronauts to the International Space Station from home for a long time since the end of the space shuttle era in 2011.
“We have chosen to retest Starliner to verify the quality of the system,” Boeing said in a brief statement. The second unmanned test will focus on assessing the ability to achieve all flight test objectives and the performance of the spacecraft”.
A previous joint investigation found that Starliner’s first test exposed a number of software and communication connectivity issues that prevented it from continuing to the International Space Station. Fortunately, with the efforts of the ground crew, the crew capsule returned to Earth intact.
Only through all the unfinished tests will Boeing be able to carry OUT its mission to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. However, the two sides have not yet disclosed the exact time of the second test flight.
With rival SpaceX planning to send the Dragon capsule carrying two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as early as May, it is clear that Boeing’s side needs to catch up as soon as possible.