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Boeing Delays Starliner Launch Again After Discovering Two Serious Problems

Saturday June 3, 2023. 05:34 PM , from Slashdot
'A Boeing official said Thursday that the company was 'standing down' from an attempt to launch the Starliner spacecraft on July 21,' reports Ars Technica, 'to focus on recently discovered issues with the vehicle.'

Starliner's program manager said they'd spent last weekend investigating the problems, and 'after internal discussions that included Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun, the company decided to delay the test flight' carrying astronauts to the International Space Station.
The issues seem rather serious to have been discovered weeks before Starliner was due to launch on an Atlas V rocket. The first involves 'soft links' in the lines that run from Starliner to its parachutes. Boeing discovered that these were not as strong as previously believed. During a normal flight, these substandard links would not be an issue. But Starliner's parachute system is designed to land a crew safely in case one of the three parachutes fails. However, due to the lower failure load limit with these soft links, if one parachute fails, it's possible the lines between the spacecraft and its remaining two parachutes would snap due to the extra strain.

The second issue involves P-213 glass cloth tape that is wrapped around wiring harnesses throughout the vehicle. These cables run everywhere, and Nappi said there are hundreds of feet of these wiring harnesses. The tape is intended to protect the wiring from nicks. However, during recent tests, it was discovered that under certain circumstances possible in flight, this tape is flammable.

Thanks to xanthos (Slashdot reader #73,578) for sharing the article.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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