Boeing will have to wait yet again to prove the worth of its Starliner spacecraft. The company and NASA had planned to launch the capsule on Tuesday on top of an Atlas V rocket at 1:20PM ET, but that's not happening anymore.
"We're standing down from today's #Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 launch," Boeing said on Twitter. The company attributed the delay to "unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system" engineers spotted during pre-launch preparations. It's currently unclear if the issue is related to Starliner or the Atlas V rocket that was supposed to carry the vessel to space. Boeing and NASA said they will provide an update on the situation on Wednesday, August 4th.
We're standing down from today's #Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 launch.
During pre-launch preparations, our engineers detected unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system.
Read the full statement: https://t.co/uQBjvq8ObU pic.twitter.com/4X2INbZj7Q
— Boeing Space (@BoeingSpace) August 3, 2021
“We’re disappointed with today’s outcome and the need to reschedule our Starliner launch,” John Vollmer, vice president and program manager for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program, said. “Human spaceflight is a complex, precise and unforgiving endeavor, and Boeing and NASA teams will take the time they need to ensure the safety and integrity of the spacecraft and the achievement of our mission objectives.”
After its first test flight went awry, Starliner was supposed to return to space on July 30th. However, NASA delayed the flight after the new Russian ISS Nauka module unexpectedly fired its thrusters, tiling the station outside of its typical orientation.