“Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will have to wait to make its triumphant trip to space.
Today (July 29), officials at NASA and Boeing announced that Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission for its Starliner astronaut taxi will be delayed from Friday (July 30) to Tuesday (Aug. 3). The Aug. 3 liftoff is scheduled to take place at 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT), NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich said in a news conference today. This delay follows a mishap with Russia’s Nauka module, which docked with the International Space Station this morning.
“NASA and Boeing have decided to stand down from Friday’s launch attempt of the agency’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission,” NASA wrote in a statement. “Currently, launch teams are assessing the next available opportunity. The move allows the International Space Station team time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos’ Nauka module and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner’s arrival.”
This morning, the Russian space agency Roscosmos’ Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), had a bumpy ride to the orbiting lab before it successfully docked at 9:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT). Also known as “Nauka” (“Science” in Russian), the new segment launched July 21 and will be Russia’s primary research module on the International Space Station.
Once it finally docked, things didn’t get much more smoothly. Just over three hours after docking, space station cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov prepared to open the hatch between Nauka and the Russian Zvezda module, where the pair were waiting.
But as the cosmonauts prepared to open the hatch between the modules, Nauka’s thrusters fired “inavertently and unexpectedly,” NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said during a live broadcast of the docking on NASA TV. This moved the station 45 degrees out of attitude, NASA shared on Twitter.”