NASA and Boeing Address Starliner Thruster Issues at ISS

NASA and Boeing are testing the Starliner spacecraft’s thrusters on the ground to fix issues before it can come back from the International Space Station (ISS). Starliner had problems with some thrusters and a helium leak when it first approached the ISS on June 6.

It’s been docked there since then, even though it was supposed to complete a 10-day test flight. The extra time is needed to figure out and solve these technical problems.

Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager, emphasized during a press conference that astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are not in jeopardy or “stranded” aboard the ISS.

He clarified that the decision to delay the return isn’t driven by urgency but by ensuring all necessary ground tests are completed satisfactorily. Initial tests on the thrusters are set to commence at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

NASA and Boeing Address Starliner Thruster Issues at ISS
NASA and Boeing Address Starliner Thruster Issues at ISS

Originally, Starliner was limited to a 45-day stay at the ISS due to battery constraints, but these batteries are being recharged by the station, potentially extending the spacecraft’s operational duration.

Stich reaffirmed that the priority remains ensuring a safe return for the astronauts at the appropriate time, reiterating that they are not marooned and highlighting Starliner’s role as a contingency lifeboat in emergencies.

Mark Nappi, Boeing’s VP and Commercial Crew Program manager, echoed Stich’s assurances, emphasizing that the crew’s safety is paramount and there is no heightened risk associated with the delayed return plans.

Both NASA and Boeing are committed to thoroughly assessing and addressing the technical issues before greenlighting Starliner’s journey back to Earth, underscoring their collaborative efforts in managing the spacecraft’s operations and ensuring astronaut safety throughout the mission.

Michael Manua
Michael Manua
Michael, a seasoned market news expert with 29 years of experience, offers unparalleled insights into financial markets. At 61, he has a track record of providing accurate, impactful analyses, making him a trusted voice in financial journalism.
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