CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. – NASA, Boeing, and United Launch Alliance (ULA ) have scrubbed the launch of the agency’s second Orbital Flight Test to the International Space Station “due to unexpected valve position indications” in the CST-100 Starliner propulsion system.
In the countdown for the Tuesday launch attempt, mission teams detected indications that not all valves were in the proper configuration needed for launch. A decision was made to halt the countdown to further analyze the issue.
Mission teams worked through several steps to assess the issue in hopes to resolve the problem and successfully launch on Wednesday, but stated in a news release that the spacecraft will be moved to a Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) for further inspection and testing where access to the spacecraft is available.
A number of potential causes have been ruled out, as engineers continue to assess and resolve the issue.
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In a news release, Gary Wentz, ULA Vice President of Government and Commercial Programs said that the test will provide them with information to analyze their technologies.
“Our ultimate focus is on the safety of the crew and this flight will ensure we are one step closer to preparing to safely fly astronauts in the near future,” said Wentz.
The Atlas V rocket will deliver Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to a 98-nautical mile sub-orbital trajectory. After separating from the rocket, the Starliner engines will propel the spacecraft to its final orbit and onto the ISS.
The launch will mark the 88th of the Atlas V rocket and the 100th launch from Space Launch Complex-41. To date, ULA has launched 144 times with 100% mission success.