Boeing Says Oops, Its Multibillion Dollar Spacecraft Can’t Handle Humidity

This is embarrassing.
Valve Troubles

Boeings Starliner, the military contractor's answer to SpaceXs Crew Dragon is a shuttle that allows astronauts to reach the International Space Station. It just keeps finding new ways for engineers to be frustrated.

Ars Technica reports that NASA and Boeing have announced Tuesday that they have removed two fuel valves from their spacecraft and sent them to the Marshall Space Flight Center. They will be examined by engineers as part of an investigation into the August delay in launch. This was after fuel valves failed during last-minute testing.

John Vollmer, manager of Boeing's commercial crew operations, stated that there had been no indication that the valves would fail. This was according to comments made by The New York Times.

Humidity issues

Boeing's chief engineer for space launch and space, Michelle Parker, told reporters at the news conference, that they believe humidity is the problem, according to Ars Technica.



Boeing believes that the Starliner must have been humidified at some time during the 46-day fueling period. Parker also stated that August was hot at the launch site due to high dew points. The valves likely corroded due to the humidity and the oxidizer as well as nitric acid.

NASA and Boeing will both attempt to replicate the corrosion in the same conditions as the original to confirm that it was the source of the problem.

Boeing Blues

Boeing is embarrassed by this. Despite designing the Starliner craft for Florida's climate, they still managed to make a craft that could withstand humidity.

Starliner has also been known for its frequent delays and problems. This started in 2019, when the Starliner failed to reach the space station because of software issues. NASA even implied in passing that it was not optimistic about the project reaching space station, and suggested that its Starliner crew could be reassigned to SpaceX launches.



READ MORE: It's not heat that grounded Boeings Starliner [Ars Technica]

NASA Signals to Boeings Spacecraft that it is going nowhere: Starliner

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