Boeing space capsule causes new helium leaks during first test flight with astronauts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing Space capsule developed more leaks during its first test flight with astronauts as it approached the International Space Station on Thursday.

THE Starliner capsule There was already a small helium leak when it was put into orbit on Wednesday. Boeing and NASA executives were confident they could manage the propulsion system despite the problem and that further leaks were unlikely. But just hours after the flight began, two more leaks appeared. There was no immediate word on the extent of these new leaks.

Despite the problem, mission managers decided to dock at midday with the space station while continuing to monitor the problem. Mission Control said the leaks are not expected to impact the appointment.

Helium is used to pressurize the fuel lines of Starliner’s thrusters, essential for maneuvers. Before takeoff, engineers developed a plan to work around any additional leaks in the system. A faulty rubber seal, no bigger than a shirt button, is believed to be responsible for the initial leak.

After the space shuttles were retired, NASA hired Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX’s taxi service began in 2020. Boeing was supposed to start around the same time, but was delayed for years due to safety concerns and other issues.

Boeing finally took off from Florida on Wednesday with NASA test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams.

Boeing plans to keep Starliner at the space station for at least eight days before guiding it to a landing in the western United States.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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