The flight carried out by Boeing back in December with the International Space Station (ISS) as the aim has avoided disaster by millimeters. Now, the investigation performed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, on Boeing’s unsuccessful spaceflight ended up with a very long list of corrections required before the company could fly its spacecraft again.
Boeing announced on Friday that the investigation discovered about 61 ‘corrective actions’ for the Starliner spacecraft, which has been created to transport NASA astronauts to space. NASA associate administrator Doug Loverro stated that he expects it ‘will take several months’ for Boeing to fix all the mistakes.
“This was a close call. We could have lost a spacecraft twice during this mission,” Loverro said.
The 61 issue fixes are not all about individual errors with the probe, Boeing stated, as there were three main technical and design issues that the company is allegedly now addressing. Still, Loverro mentioned the fact that this doesn’t mean there are only three issues with the spacecraft. He said there are numerous problems, but he was not sure of a particular number detected by investigators back then.
Boeing Might Have to Redo The Test Flight
Boeing planned to transport NASA astronauts on its Starliner spacecraft this year. Back in December, the aerospace company performed what was intended to be one of the probe’s last tests, but the spacecraft couldn’t manage to dock with the space station after a software error appeared during launch, which made Starliner’s individual flight-control system to fail, sending the spacecraft in the wrong orbit.
The main unclear thing remains whether NASA will ask the company to redo the orbital test flight, as Boeing previously set for its next flight to have astronauts on board. Still, even though the investigation is now complete, neither NASA or Boeing were certain about when the next test flight will take place.
“Will we require a second OFT? Quite frankly, we don’t know,” Loverro said. “We are still a way away from that, so I can’t even give you an idea of schedule.”
Meanwhile, NASA said that it would bring more software specialists into Boeing’s Starliner team, to help fix the many issues it found. The space agency said in January that Boeing would review approximately one million lines of software code after it was discovered that a second software issue could have been catastrophic. NASA has kept this quiet even though it was asked numerous times whether the spacecraft suffered more errors. It only revealed the second problem after a while.