Boeing's second shot at launching a capsule to the International Space Station has been scrubbed again, this time due to an unexpected issue with the spacecraft.
"During pre-launch preparations for the uncrewed test flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, Boeing engineers monitoring the health and status of the vehicle detected unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system," Boeing said in a statement. "The issue was initially detected during check outs following yesterday’s electrical storms in the region of Kennedy Space Center."
We're confirming today's #Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 launch is scrubbed. More details soon.August 3, 2021
The next launch attempt window, which was scheduled for 1:20PM EDT on August 3, will be on Wednesday, August 4, at 12:57PB EDT. This second launch attempt came after the first attempt had to be scrubbed last week when a Russian module attached to the ISS fired its thrusters unexpectedly, pushing the ISS off its orbital trajectory.
The ISS trajectory was corrected, but not in time to save the first Starliner launch attempt. This time, however, the problem was with the Boeing spacecraft itself. We've reached out to Boeing for further details about what happened and will update this article if we receive any new information.
- Watch Jeff Bezos Blue Origin rocket launch
- Jeff Bezos: reusable rockets will let a trillion people colonize the solar system
- Why New Zealand's tiny rocket launch is such a big deal
Analysis: Boeing's Starliner hits another snag, raising already high stakes
After Boeing's failure in 2019 to dock its Starliner capsule with the ISS, there has been increased pressure on the company to deliver.
Boeing has received an unfathomable amount of money from NASA contracts over the decades and has been an integral part of the American space program going back to the 1960s-era Apollo program.
You can't rest on your laurels though, no matter how well earned. SpaceX has been tightly contesting Boeing's space dominance for years and was the first NASA Commercial Crew partner to bring astronauts to the ISS in August 2020, which also made it the first private spacecraft to do so.
Meanwhile, Boeing – with its storied history of spaceflight – has been struggling to match SpaceX's recent achievements. We aren't even talking about bringing astronauts up to the ISS yet, we're just talking about getting a capsule to the ISS. Needless to say, the stakes for this rocket launch were already high for Boeing, and each setback just raises them further, fairly or not.
- Stay up to date on all the latest tech news with the TechRadar newsletter