NASA confirms that astronauts transported by Boeing to the International Space Station are 'not stuck' there

NASA wants to be reassured. The two astronauts who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) three weeks ago aboard Boeing's new Starliner spacecraft are not there. “Forbidden”The US space agency backed up on Friday, June 28, even if the capsule's return date continues to be delayed and now depends on the analysis of new tests.

These tests relate in particular to problems encountered while flying on the capsule's thrusters as it approached the International Space Station to dock there. Ground tests will be performed on similar thrusters to recreate the space environment and better understand the cause of the problem. These tests are supposed to last for approximately two weeks, and a return date will not be set until then.

“Butch and Sonny aren't stuck in space.”“The return of the vehicle is not a good thing,” NASA’s top official Steve Stich confirmed during an unusually tense press conference. “presses”He added. Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunny Williams were originally scheduled to spend just over a week in the flying lab. That prompted the American press to wonder if the astronauts now found themselves without a way to return.

Read also | Two astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft have entered the International Space Station.

“Collect more data”

They are not “They are not stuck on the ISS, the crew is not in danger”Mark Nabi, a senior manager at Boeing, also criticized it. “It's very painful to read the things that are being circulated. We've had a very good test flight so far, and it's being viewed in such a negative light.”He complained. “We can bring the Starliner in at any time.”He insisted. But “We don't understand well enough [les soucis rencontrés] To fix it permanently, so the only way to do it is to take time.” And “collect more data”.

In addition to the propulsion system, another anomaly is affecting Starliner, a new vehicle ordered by NASA a decade ago to serve as a space taxi to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA and Boeing are still investigating the cause of the helium leak detected during the flight. Helium is nonflammable but is used in the propulsion system. However, the spacecraft still has enough helium to make it back, according to the space agency.

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The mission, which Boeing executed years behind schedule, is the first for Starliner with a crew, and is necessary for the capsule to receive NASA certification and then be able to begin regular operations. In the meantime, NASA astronauts have already been on the International Space Station with SpaceX ships for four years.

Read also | Boeing managed to launch a Starliner capsule to the International Space Station

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