June 29, 2022

NASA’s Space Exploration Makes A Major Delay

NASA has made a major setback in their space exploration plan. The Boeing Starliner, due for an unmanned test flight in 2020, will not be ready to fly until 2022. NASA had planned on the first manned mission of the Boeing Starliner happening no later than April 2023, but now it is unknown when that date may happen.

Sources indicate that technicians discovered cracks in the spacecraft’s propulsion system. The Starliner is manufactured via 3D printing, which makes it more lightweight but also less sturdy than conventional designs. This discovery may push back the entire program by several years. Engineers are still determining how much damage has been done to each engine. They expect it to be months before the next test flight, and it could be years before manned missions begin.

NASA has been exploring different methods of designing spacecrafts in recent decades with mixed results. The space shuttle program was phased out in 2011, due to its high cost per launch (about $1 billion) and the fact that it only allowed for short visits in Earth orbit. Now, NASA is hoping to return to its roots as a deep space explorer.

Since the retirement of the space shuttle program, NASA has been forced to hitch rides on Russian rockets to get astronauts into orbit. The Starliner was part of a plan to bring those launches back under American control through private manufacturing contracts with companies like Boeing and SpaceX. The Starliner would have been the first commercial spacecraft to reach space since 2011, and was projected to start unmanned test flights this year.

NASA has not yet released a statement on whether or not this discovery will affect their plans for future manned missions with other companies or through international cooperation.

NASA has made a major setback in their space exploration plan. The Boeing Starliner, due for an unmanned test flight in 2020, will not be ready to fly until 2022. NASA had planned on the first manned mission of the Boeing Starliner happening no later than April 2023, but now it is unknown when that date may happen.

Sources indicate that technicians discovered cracks in the spacecraft’s propulsion system. The Starliner is manufactured via 3D printing, which makes it more lightweight but also less sturdy than conventional designs. This discovery may push back the entire program by several years. Engineers are still determining how much damage has been done to each engine. They expect it to be months before the next test flight, and it could be years before manned missions begin.

NASA has been exploring different methods of designing spacecrafts in recent decades with mixed results. The space shuttle program was phased out in 2011, due to its high cost per launch and the fact that it only allowed for short visits in Earth orbit.