It is not known when Boeing Co. will attempt to launch its Starliner space taxi to the International Space Station after its engineers detected a problem with the valves in a vehicle’s propulsion system.
The launch of the aerospace giant’s Starliner capsule was scheduled for August 3, but officials decided to postpone the flight because some valves in a Starliner propulsion system were not configured correctly, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Officials had said they might try to fly the vehicle to the space station on August 4, but then dismissed the possibility, saying engineers needed time to assess what had happened with the valves.
Boeing has already encountered problems with the Starliner. A botched effort at the end of 2019 shattered the record for a company that has been at the forefront of American space exploration, including the Apollo missions to the moon. The Starliner is the latest in a series of new rockets, capsules and other vehicles designed to promote American ambitions in a new space race to the moon, Mars and beyond.
The Starliner would give the United States more options to reach low earth orbit and the space station. US astronauts had to hitchhike the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get there after the space shuttle pulled out in 2011. NASA chose to outsource a replacement through its commercial crew program and chose Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the official name of Elon Musk SpaceX, to provide space taxi services.