A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft is seen at Space Launch Complex 41, ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission (OFT-2) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Boeing's Starliner spacecraft must wait until it makes its triumphant journey to space.
Today, July 29, NASA and Boeing officials announced that Boeing's uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 mission (OFT-2) for its Starliner astronaut-taxi will be delayed from Friday, July 30 to Aug. 3. Today's news conference was given by Steve Stich, NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager. The Aug. 3 liftoff will take place at 1 :20 p.m. ET (1720 GMT). This is due to a problem with Russia's Nauka module that docked with International Space Station this morning.
NASA released a statement saying that Boeing and NASA have agreed to halt Friday's launch attempt for the agency's Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. "Currently, launch teams evaluate the next available opportunity. This allows the International Space Station team to continue working on checkouts of Roscosmos' Nauka Module and ensures that the station is ready for Starliner.
Live updates: Follow the Starliner OFT-2 mission of Boeing here
Similar: All you need to know About Boeing's Starliner OFT-2 Mission
Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, had a rough ride to the orbiting laboratory before it finally docked successfully at 9:29 AM EDT (1329 GMT). The new segment, also known as Nauka ("Science") in Russian, was launched July 21. It will serve as Russia's primary research module at the International Space Station.
It was a smooth docking experience. Three hours after docking, Oleg Novitskiy, a space station cosmonaut, and Pyotr dubrov, a space station cosmonaut, opened the hatch between Nauka, the Russian Zvezda modular, where they were waiting.
NASA spokesperson Rob Navias stated that Nauka's thrusters fired "inavertently" as astronauts were about to open the hatch between modules. NASA shared this tweet by NASA: "This moved the station 45° out of its original attitude."
Russia's multipurpose logistics module Nauka docks with the Earth-facing side Zvezda at the International Space Station Thursday, July 29, 2021. NASA TV image credit
Navias stated that the crew was not in danger.
Space.com's Joel Montalbano, space station program manager, stated that there was no immediate danger to the crew during the news conference. "Obviously, you should immediately address any loss of attitude control. The crew was not in an immediate emergency.
"You ask the crew: "Hey, did your space station shake?" The crew's response was negative. He added that he didn't see anything similar.
Montalbano also stated that, as of now, there has not been any damage to the ISS. One of the first things we do following a dynamic event such as this is sit down with our structural load team, review all data, pull all the telemetry, take a look, and make an assessment.
The orbiting lab was returned to its original location and the Nauka teams worked together to stop any unplanned thruster firings.
Although agency officials assured that the astronauts aboard the station were safe, crew members did close the protective shutters of the space station during this time. Since then, they have opened the shutters again.
Mission teams on the ground responded quickly to these events and continued to assess the situation. "What we saw today was simply an amazing job by the flight controller team. Montalbano stated that those guys were rock stars and helped us get back to attitude control.
He said that the situation "shows how robust our vehicle is and our ability to handle these contingencies, recover and move on."
Montalbano noted, however, that communication between ground teams and the astronauts at the station was lost a few times during the process. The longest communication loss being seven minutes.
Starliner's planned July 30 launch date is facing difficulties beyond Nauka. This has been despite the fact that thunderstorms have plagued Florida's launch site all week. Mission teams predicted a 50% chance for good weather on July 30, which is a difficult probability.
NASA tweeted "Starliner is ready" after Starliner's delay was announced on Thursday. "This move gives @Space_Station time to finish checkouts on the Roscosmos' Nauka Module and ensure that the station is ready for Starliners."
Starliner, Boeing's crew spacecraft, is designed to transport astronauts to the space station. Boeing's Starliner, like SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle was funded and supported by NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft is secured on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, July 17, 2021. (Image credit: John Grant/Boeing)
OFT-2 follows OFT-1, which was the craft's first uncrewed test flight. However, it experienced anomalies that prevented it reaching the space station in December 2019. Boeing has resolved all issues after a thorough investigation by the Boeing-NASA joint team.
Boeing will launch operational crewed missions aboard Starliner from the International Space Station after the OFT-2 mission is completed. This follows the success of SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle on its Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions.
Chelsea Gohd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Spacedotcom