Boeing Starliner’s helium leak adds another delay to debut crew flight By Reuters


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(Reuters) – NASA said in a statement that it has again postponed Boeing Co's (NYSE:) first crewed flight of its Starliner capsule on Tuesday so that engineers can spend more time assessing a helium leak in the spacecraft's propulsion system.

The launch, which was scheduled for May 25, has now been suspended, with the next potential launch date being discussed, the statement said.

“The team held meetings for two consecutive days to evaluate flight justification, system performance, and redundancy,” NASA said. “There is still work ahead in these areas, and the next potential launch opportunity is still under discussion.”

The latest postponement of the first Starliner mission with humans on board comes as mission officials deepen their review of a helium leak in Starliner's propulsion system, which was discovered along with a problem with the Atlas (NYSE:) booster shortly before the spacecraft was set to lift off. From Florida. On May 7th. The Atlas rocket is built by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a Boeing-Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) joint venture.

NASA astronauts Sonny Williams and Butch Wilmore are set to take the Starliner as its first crew to the International Space Station after years of delays, technical problems and two unmanned test flights — one unsuccessful in 2019 and a successful attempt in 2022.

With veteran test pilots on board, the mission will represent the final benchmark test for Starliner before NASA certifies the spacecraft for routine crewed missions to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed under the same NASA program, has been NASA's main taxi on the International Space Station since 2021.

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