How corrosive valves may have delayed the launch of Boeing’s Starliner

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Boeing’s Starliner seen rolling out to its launchpad, ahead of the August delay | Photo by /NASA via Getty Images

Boeing says it is narrowing down the source of the issue that delayed the launch of its new Starliner spacecraft this summer, blaming the problem on excess water and humidity causing the vehicle’s valves to stick ahead of the flight. The company plans to extensively study the problematic valves over the months ahead and implement design changes, with the hope of launching Starliner again in mid-2022.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is a new passenger spacecraft, designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Before Starliner can carry a crew, however, NASA wants Boeing to launch a successful flight of the vehicle without people on board, to prove the spacecraft can safely go…

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