Boeing Starliner will not lift off from the ground in 2021. NASA has announced to postpone the launch of the astronaut taxi. It said that the Orbital Flight-Test 2 will be launched next year. The reason behind the delay is an unresolved issue. The spacecraft has some issues in its valve that are yet to be fixed. The agency said that the team behind Orbital Flight-Test 2 is working to fix the issue and prepare for the launch. The team is looking for launch opportunities. The spacecraft will probably be launched in the first half of the next year. The spacecraft was originally slated for a launch in August this year. But the issue in its valve delayed the launch.
Starliner program executive John Vollmer said that the safety of the spacecraft, crew, and employees is paramount for the team working to resolve the issue. John said that the team is taking appropriate time and following the procedure to resolve the issue in the system. The uncrewed test flight was touted to be a crucial mission by NASA and Boeing to the International Space Station. Engineers during preflight checks spotted 13 stuck valves in the service module of the spacecraft. This forced to nix the liftoff plan. The test flight is a part of Boeing’s contract with the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The aerospace company will fly operational missions for NASA to and from the ISS.
The contract has suffered a series of setbacks since the signing of the contract in 2014. This prevented Starliner’s test flight to ISS. A test flight is necessary before putting astronauts on board. The test flights allow engineers to iron out possible difficulties astronauts may face. Boeing’s first orbital flight was launched in 2019. It was an uncrewed flight. The mission did not go as planned. Boeing was then required to make a fresh attempt. However, the second test flight has could not be launched because of software checks and other issues.