Boeing postponed the launch of its CST-100 Starliner space capsule to the International Space Station after discovering a glitch in its propulsion system valves during pre-launch checks. Boeing revealed that the valve issue had been more widespread and significant than many assumed. It could launch the test flight by the end of the month but Boeing still does not know what caused the problem. They suspect the spacecraft may have been damaged by a rainstorm during transportation. “The valves connect to thrusters that enable abort and in-orbit maneuvering,” NASA explains. Since the scrub, the rocket was rolled back into the ULA hangar, where teams continue to resolve the problem. Boeing said it was working with NASA and United Launch Alliance, its partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp, to confirm launch dates when the spacecraft is ready.
According to NASA, the earliest available launch date is in mid-August. Boeing is developing Starliner under a contract with NASA to fly the space agency’s astronauts to and from the International Space Station. A manned mission will take place no earlier than December. Boeing’s first attempt at the uncrewed mission, in December 2019, was compromised because a software malfunction that prevented the spacecraft from docking with the station.