Is Boeing Starliner ‘stuck’ in space? Return to earth delayed for 3rd time, sparking concerns - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Is Boeing Starliner ‘stuck’ in space? Return to earth delayed for 3rd time, sparking concerns

BySumanti Sen
Jun 23, 2024 08:24 AM IST

The Boeing Starliner’s return to earth from the International Space Station has now been delayed for the third time, NASA announced on Friday, June 21.

The Boeing Starliner’s return to earth from the International Space Station has now been delayed for the third time, NASA announced on Friday, June 21. A new return date has not been revealed, however, this is the latest in several delays that were announced after the vehicle faced various issues on the way to the space station.

Widespread concern as Boeing Starliner’s return delayed for 3rd time (REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo)(REUTERS)
Widespread concern as Boeing Starliner’s return delayed for 3rd time (REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo)(REUTERS)

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams launched from Cape Canaveral on June 5. Subsequently, four helium leaks, and five failures of its 28 manoeuvring thrusters, were reported. Officials reportedly have a 45-day window to bring them back.

The spacecraft’s return model is docked to the ISS’ Harmony module. However, officials warned that Harmony has limited fuel, which indicates that a return must be planned at the earliest. Initially, Wilmore and Williams were scheduled to return on June 13.

Amid widespread concerns over the safe return of the astronauts, with many publications claiming that the Starliner is “stuck on ISS,” some social media posts suggest that the situation is not that bad after all. X user Rebecca Regan, who appears to have direct knowledge of the situation, claimed that Wilmore and Williams are “not stranded,” as some reports have been claiming.

Here are some posts expressing concern:

Is the Starliner ‘stuck’ in space?

“No, Starliner is not stuck in space. No, Butch and Suni are not stranded. We’ve got a good spacecraft and a happy and healthy crew. In fact, Suni gave our team a call this afternoon, showed us all around the space station and gave us a bit of encouragement to lift our spirits,” Regan wrote on X.

In the thread, Regan quoted Mark Nappi, Starliner program manager, Boeing Commercial Crew, as saying, “Starliner is performing very well and we are getting exactly what we wanted out of this flight test by learning things you can only learn in flight.”

“The crew has been incredibly supportive of this learning on orbit, working with the ground teams, to improve and sharpen the experience for future crews,” Nappi added, according to Regan.

“Starliner will come home with Butch and Suni after we’ve learned all we can on orbit,” Regan added.

Echoing Regan’s comments. Space expert Jonathan McDowell told New York Post that the situation may not be as dangerous as some are perceiving it to be. “You can lose a few thrusters and still be OK because there are many of them but still this is the propulsion system and you want to understand everything that’s going on,” he said. “They want to be sure these smaller issues aren’t masking bigger ones.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 19, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On