Boeing Starliner OFT-2 “Hangar Queen”—One Valve Still Stuck, “Working Toward Launch Opportunities in the First Half of 2022 “
Yesterday, NASA held a media teleconference on the status of the Orbital Flight Test-2 uncrewed test of the Boeing Starliner. The flight readiness review is scheduled for 2022-05-11. Launch is now scheduled for 2022-05-19.
This is an audio-only recording of the conference.
Eight months have passed since Starliner was removed from the launch pad due to multiple valve failures in the service module.
Boeing received a US$ 93.2 million contract from NASA in 2011 to develop Starliner with first flight scheduled for 2017. In 2019, NASA paid Boeing an additional US$ 287.2 million to cover overruns and pay for three more missions. In September 2021 Boeing took a US$ 185 million charge against earnings to cover Starliner delays, bringing the total to US$ 595 million since 2019.
As I said on your prior post, this is giving me Energia vibes.
The video cannot be embedded here: view the tweet to play.
I do don’t know much about rockets, but I don’t think it is good news when parts falls off while being towed about. Just seems like there would be more stress during launch than when hitting a pothole.
Maybe NASA can get on the cash for clunkers 2.0 program and send it to Ukraine. Maybe you don’t really even need to send it. Just put it on the list of stuff that would be sent.
Here is more video of the Starliner transfer. The narration says that the panel that fell off is a protective cover which is removed before launch, so this won’t be an issue at launch time. Still, it’s embarrassing when pieces fall off when you’re transporting things on a truck.
It reminds me of the first time the new space shuttle Columbia was flown on the 747 carrier aircraft. Hundreds of insulation tiles fell off during the flight, prompting people to wonder what would happen in a far more demanding rocket launch and re-entry.
It reminds me of that marvelous scene in the movie “The Right Stuff” when Gus Grissom learned that the Mercury capsule did not have a window hatch. The other 6 astronauts then rushed to explain what they thought Grissom’s expletive actually meant. Sadly, when Grissom’s Liberty 7 capsule (with window hatch) hit the ocean, the hatch blew off, the capsule filled with water and sank. Fortunately, Grissom himself was rescued.
Actually, the window and the hatch were separate issues. The original Mercury capsule had only two tiny portholes and relied on a periscope to provide views of the Earth. The hatch through which the astronaut entered was fastened by bolts from the outside and could not be opened from the inside. If the astronaut needed to escape from the capsule, the only option was a crazily difficult contortionist maneuver which involved squeezing under the instrument panel and then out the top of the capsule like a mouse escaping from a Coke bottle. This is the design that flew on Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission.
For Grissom’s and subsequent flights, a larger window replaced the portholes, with markings to provide a backup for re-entry orientation if the instruments failed. The window was located between the position of the portholes, and was not in the hatch. The hatch was equipped with explosive bolts which could be triggered by the astronaut to escape through the main hatch without the Houdini trick. As you noted, this hatch accidentally triggered after landing on Grissom’s flight, resulting in loss of the spacecraft, which was only recovered from the briny deep in 1999.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting, “Boeing Plans to Move Headquarters to Arlington, Va., From Chicago” (article is paywalled, the following is in the clear):
Aerospace giant’s move to Washington, D.C., area would bring senior executives closer to federal decision makers
Boeing Co. is expected to move its headquarters to Arlington, Va., from Chicago, people familiar with the matter said, a shift that would place the aerospace company’s senior executives closer to key government decision makers in the nation’s capital.
An announcement of the move, details of which haven’t been finalized, is expected as soon as next week, according to some of these people.
I guess Chicago is insufficiently corrupt and too far from the magic money trough.
Update: Here is a Forbes article which is not paywalled, “Boeing Will Move Headquarters From Chicago To D.C. Metro Area”. (2022-05-05 19:07 UTC)