Maybe it wasn’t supposed to happen.
After years of setbacks, Boeing is finally starting to roll its Starliner spacecraft onto the launch pad today in its second attempt to rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Not providing any service to the spacecraft grumpy reputationI had another mishap along the way. While strapped to the back of a large truck, a piece of the capsule window appeared to be popping out, slung toward the asphalt, as spotted in the footage he shared. CBS Space News Correspondent William Harwood.
OFT-2: during the rollover to platform 41, when the Starliner approached the vehicle assembly building, the protective window cover somehow fell off the capsule and fell onto the road; The flight continued after a short stop to determine what had happened pic.twitter.com/GAS6VwxYf5
– William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews) May 4, 2022
The motorcade stopped briefly to check for damage before resuming its journey to Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Boeing later assured to Harwood It was a protective window cover that fell off the capsule.
Finally, it doesn’t seem like a very serious problem, but the optics are shocking considering what Boeing has gone through with developing Starliner, its rival to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
The second test flight of the unmanned capsule, which was scheduled to launch in August 2021, has been postponed several times, with engineers experiencing a number of problems, including Florida moisture corrodes valves.
To prepare for said mission, the Starliner capsule is now preparing to stack atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on its second attempt to reach orbit and dock with the station.
Meanwhile, SpaceX has been all about its competition. The company led by Elon Musk and Boeing is both developing space capsules as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, but only the first has been able to successfully deliver astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.
For now, all we can do is hope that Boeing has done its homework this time around – and that the long-awaited spacecraft can finally move out of the development hell it’s been stuck in for years now.
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