On December 20th, the long-awaited Boeing “Interstellar Route” spacecraft finally went into space with the help of a Cosmos 5 rocket. This should be a historic step for America’s space industry. Following Musk’s Manned Dragon spacecraft, another commercial spacecraft has entered the flight test phase. Although the flight was not manned, in the eyes of the Americans, this is another step closer to regaining their rightful place in manned space flight.
But a few hours later, NASA Administrator Jim Brydon appeared on television after tweeting a message that left Americans feeling heavy, and that the Star Trek spacecraft had been in low orbit after an accident. Because of the fuel consumption, it is difficult to dock with the International Space Station.
The “Interstellar Route” flight, is widely regarded by the industry as an important part of Boeing’s turn-around battle. Especially in the context of this year’s repeated accidents and forced shutdowns of the MAX 737 aircraft, if Boeing can make a breakthrough in aerospace flights, it will also give the company itself and the entire U.S. aerospace industry a shot in the arm. In fact, the “Interstellar Route” spacecraft’s flight was more than a year later than originally planned. And it’s about nine months behind Musk, who had been expected to succeed as America’s oldest aerospace company, but the bad news.
According to a joint report by Boeing and NASA, the “Interstellar Route” spacecraft entered a perigee of 186 kilometers and 222 kilometers of apogee, and although the ship’s system was working properly, the data showed that the fuel was not enough because some engines ignited early and used too much fuel. In this way, the “interstellar route” will not be able to continue to raise its orbit and dock with the International Space Station at an altitude of 400 kilometers. Boeing, on the other hand, said the failure was caused by the spacecraft ‘using the wrong timer’ and that the computer thought it had reached the lift time and activated the thruster, but it didn’t. But the ship’s posture remains in good condition, and the solar sails have been deployed and aligned with the sun. So the connection between the spacecraft and the ground is normal.
Any new model would be at great risk, but such a low-level error should not have happened to Boeing. You know, Boeing’s aerospace division isn’t new, it’s acquired from another company. The company it acquired was the well-known North American aircraft company. If there’s still a bit of a stranger to the connection between North American aircraft companies and spacecraft, just remember the fact that the propulsion and return modules of more than 10 Apollo spacecraft are the work of the North American Aircraft Company. So the performance of the “Interstellar Route” spacecraft today is really insulting to the predecessors.
The failure means not only that a space flight test will have the desired effect, but also that Boeing’s already low reputation has been severely stepped on the foot, which they stepped on themselves. In recent years, Boeing in the civil and military market negative public opinion continued, in addition to the Boeing 737 MAX, Boeing 777, 787 has also exposed quality problems. The military KC-46 tanker is of poor quality and poor quality control, and the International Communications Satellite-29E, built by Boeing, has a fuel leak after it is put into orbit, unable to control its posture and orbit, and is completely out of order.
So what does Boeing do now? It is reported that the “interstellar route” fuel consumption is not too serious, there is a considerable amount of fuel available. But Boeing seemed to be in a state of dismay, with Jim Clinton, Boeing’s vice president of aerospace, announcing his intention to return the ship to Earth within 48 hours. Landing at the White Sands Range, a missile test site for the U.S. Army. It sounds like Boeing is going to turn bad things into good things, re-playing the unmanned version of the Apollo 13 story in front of American taxpayers. This makes technical sense by taking the ship back to check the cause of the failure. But what if recycling fails? We’ll keep track of what’s going on.