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Stuck valves on Boeing's Starliner keep critical space station test flight on hold

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Boeing's Starliner capsule is still under repair as the company works to figure out what's going on with its faulty valves. Following a multitude of delays, Starliner has no new launch date set for its Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station as Boeing teams continue to "work around the clock" to fix the valve issues that grounded the craft last week and continue to delay a liftoff, the company announced in a statement today (Aug. 12). So far,… (www.space.com) Altro...

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mbrews
mbrews 7
Looking at the details - 13 oxidizer valves failed to open during a pre-launch check. Likely these valves are cryogenic type, designed to handle LOX liguid oxygen.

There are further reports of heavy Florida thunderstorms prior to launch day. Very common in Florida summertime.

IMHO, look for either water contamination in the LOX lines OR perhaps frozen rainwater affecting the cryo valves' external mechanisms.

In the photos from the high bay, the technicians appear to be working on one of the fairings that presumably house some thruster valves.

If the fairings are not water tight, and if the fairings lack drain holes at the bottom, built up rainwater could freeze up and bind the actuators and/or limit switches. Could also involve water-soaked thermal insulation surrounding the cryo valves.

ColinSeftel
John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of Boeing's Commercial Crew Program, informed space.com that the hypergolic oxidizer, di-nitrogen tetroxide, or NTO had permeated through some of the valves. As a result, it mixed with traces of moisture trapped in the valve and formed nitric acid. That acid buildup caused corrosion which in turn made the valves stick closed. Source https://www.space.com/boeing-starliner-oft-2-indefinite-delay-factory-return
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
Thanks... Great info
jbqwik
jbqwik 1
Yes, thanks for the info and link

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