Leaks discovered after launch – E24

Leaks discovered after launch – E24

Boeing's Starliner Calypso crewed space capsule has finally lifted off from Cape Canaveral, after several delays. Meanwhile, NASA discovered leaks in the ship.

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Starliner, with astronauts Barry Eugene “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Sonny” Williams on board, launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida aboard the Atlas V launch vehicle at 10:52 a.m. Wednesday.

Willmore and Williams will be on the International Space Station (ISS) for a week.

This is Boeing's first manned launch.

The flight must be completed before NASA can certify Boeing for future flights to the International Space Station, as the second private company after SpaceX.

SpaceX received validation in 2020 with its Dragon capsule, and has since made several trips to the International Space Station.

Postponements

The launch was supposed to take place on May 7. During the countdown, the launch was halted due to problems with the valve that was supposed to regulate the pressure on the Atlas V launch vehicle.

A helium leak was then discovered in the service module, causing further delays, before June 1 was set as the new launch date.

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This launch was aborted with less than four minutes remaining in the countdown, due to problems with the power supply.

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They finally succeeded on the third attempt on June 5, but not without problems this time either.

More leaks

Just before Wednesday's launch, NASA detected a helium leak in one of the valves, but decided it was acceptable.

Late Wednesday night NASA wrote on X/Twitter Two more helium leaks were discovered after the launch.

NASA identified three helium leaks on board the ship. One of these issues and a plan to deal with it were discussed before the launch. The other two are new after the vehicle entered Earth orbit. Two damaged helium valves have been closed, and the ship remains stable, NASA wrote.

The leaks were discovered before the astronauts slept on board. Wilmore and Williams were informed of the leaks and the plan to shut them down.

NASA has since concluded that the crew is safe, and has asked them to go to bed CNN.

Each has its own mission

Boeing's space program has faced many problems before, including an unmanned launch in 2019 in which the ship did not reach the International Space Station.

In May 2022, Boeing was finally able to send an unmanned Starliner capsule to the space station. The first manned test is planned for early 2023.

Both Boeing and SpaceX have been tasked with developing their own ship for this use. In 2014, Boeing received $4 billion for development, while SpaceX received $2.6 billion.

The latter's Crew Dragon capsule had already been tested in space in March, but an emergency system test on April 20 went horribly wrong and ended in an explosion, fire and total failure.

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Consequently, development was delayed, and Boeing had the opportunity to regain some of the lead.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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