Review team completed thorough investigation of failed CST-100 Starliner flight to ISS
In December 2019, Boeing attempted to ship its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). However, the probe failed and the mission was not completed. Now, with the conclusion of a long investigation, NASA has made a list of 80 recommendations for Boeing.
The main one is conducting flight hardware tests before each launch. In addition, one of the main causes raised was the absence of a longer test simulating the entire process. Instead, Boeing divided its tests into smaller pieces. As a result, it was not discovered that the spacecraft’s computer time was poorly calibrated, preventing Starliner propellants from firing and sending the rocket into the correct orbit.
Another Boeing flaw was in not testing the software against the service module. The company used a defective emulator and did not discover a critical defect that could lead to “vehicle loss”. According to the portal NASA Spaceflight, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich determined that the agency was unable to provide sufficient Boeing supervision.
Although it did not list all 80 recommendations, NASA listed the most important ones, such as correcting any identified simulation or emulation gaps, increasing the involvement of subject matter experts in critical security areas and making organizational changes to the security reporting framework.
NASA and Boeing hope to take the Starliner test flight to the ISS later this year. According to the Washington Post, the companies intend to launch between October and November.
The flight made on December 20 last year with the new passenger spacecraft, CST-100 Starliner, did not go as planned. This is because the vehicle was unable to reach the right orbit when it was launched into space. Fortunately, there were no people on board, as the flight was just a test. However, this calls into question the future of Starliner.
Updates from Boeing and Nasa, which was helping to oversee the mission, were rather sparse. Boeing said the Starliner was “safe and stable”, but it was not clear whether the spacecraft would remain so in the future.
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