Boeing's astronaut capsule faces more launch delays after latest problems

Boeing's astronaut capsule, Starliner, is facing more launch delays after new problems cropped up. This is the latest setback for the company in its efforts to send humans to space.

Boeing's astronaut capsule faces more launch delays after latest problems

FILE - Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner rocket mounted on an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance is rolled to the launch pad of Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida, ahead of the Orbital Test-2 (OFT-2) Mission, Wednesday, 18 May 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Boeing and NASA announced on Thursday, June 1, that the astronaut capsule will face more delays due to flammable tapes and weak parachute cables. (Joel Kowsky/NASA, via AP)

Joel Kowsky/AP

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP) - Boeing's astronaut capsule is facing more delays following the discovery of issues that should have been detected earlier, officials stated.

Boeing and NASA announced Thursday the latest setback.

The Starliner capsule had been on schedule for a test flight in July with two astronauts, but the trip was well behind schedule.

Final reviews revealed issues with the parachutes lines and other problems which were present in last year's flight test with no one aboard and should have been detected years ago, according to officials.

Mark Nappi, Boeing's program manager, said that he thought it was possible, but he did not want to give a date or time frame until all the problems were resolved.

Nappi says the capsule contains wire harnesses that are wrapped in flammable white tape. The company could cover the tape with a safer alternative instead of trying to remove hundreds of feet that were supposed to protect the capsule from scuffing.

The parachute line was also not strong enough to meet safety requirements.

These tests were conducted many years ago. We reviewed the results. Nappi stated that we missed these results and it could have been detected sooner.

NASA began using Boeing and SpaceX for astronaut transport after the space shuttle was retired more than 10 years ago. SpaceX has completed 10 crewed flights, including three private ones. Boeing's 2019 test flight had to be repeated without a crew due to software and other problems.

Steve Stich is the manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

SpaceX and Boeing will each be able to make one taxi flight per year to the station.

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