The crisis-ridden Boeing ‘Starliner’ docks with the ISS


Boeing’s ‘Starliner’, crewed by two NASA astronauts, docked with the International Space Station (ISS) – but encountered numerous technical problems along the way. Two new helium leaks were discovered on the spacecraft.

The crisis-plagued ‘Starliner’ was only able to dock with the ISS on the second attempt on Thursday after problems with the engines, live images from the American space agency NASA showed. When it finally worked, astronauts Barry Wilmore and Suni Williams were greeted cheerfully by the ISS crew. They are expected to remain aboard the space station for about a week.

Leaks are observed
A helium leak had been discovered before takeoff, but NASA’s assessment said it did not pose a threat to the flight. All three leaks are now being monitored, the valves are closed and the spacecraft remains stable, NASA said.

The ‘Starliner’ – a partially reusable spacecraft that consists of a three-metre high crew capsule and a service module and, unlike the ‘Crew Dragon’, lands on Earth instead of on water – was launched on Wednesday after years of delays began on a manned test flight for the first time. US Vice President Kamala Harris called it an “important milestone for human spaceflight”. The test flight was previously postponed several times due to various technical problems with the spacecraft and the rocket.

Planned alternative to the “Crew Dragon”
In May 2022, the ‘Starliner’, developed and built by American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, completed its first successful unmanned flight to the ISS and spent four days there – an important test for the spacecraft. In the future, it will transport astronauts to the ISS as an alternative to SpaceX’s “Crew Dragon” space capsule. However, due to a number of problems, the project is running far behind schedule, even though the ‘Crew Dragon’ has been regularly bringing astronauts to the ISS for several years.

Source: Krone


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