NASA Scrubs Starliner Crewed Flight Test Launch

An issue with the relief valve on the upper stage of the Atlas rocket prompted the decision about two hours before the scheduled launch from Cape Canaveral.

NASA, Boeing and ULA are targeting another launch attempt no earlier than May 10 pending resolution of the technical issue that prevented Monday’s launch of the Crew Flight Test. [Courtesy: NASA]

A valve issue caused NASA to scrub the first crewed launch of the Boeing Starliner capsule on Monday.

The problem with the relief valve on the upper stage of the Atlas rocket was detected about two hours before the scheduled 10:34 p.m. EDT launch from Cape Canaveral.

“In a situation like this, if we see any data signature is not something that we have seen before, then we are just simply not willing to take any chances with what is our most precious payload,” United Launch Alliance spokesman Dillon Rice told reporters.

ULA is providing the rocket to boost the capsule into orbit for a rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams had just strapped in when the decision to scrub was made. It’s not known how long it will take to fix the valve.

It’s the latest in a series of issues encountered getting the Starliner to space, although this is the first issue with the launch system. The first uncrewed test launch of the capsule in 2019 failed to get to the right orbit for the ISS. The second test reached the space station, but after it returned problems were found with the parachutes and flammable tape was discovered in the electrical system.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.

Russ Niles
Russ NilesContributor
Russ Niles has been a journalist for 40 years, a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb in 2003. When he’s not writing about airplanes he and his wife Marni run a small winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

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