The spacecraft Boeing, which wants to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, suffered a severe setback when officials discovered a fuel leak in a crash test in June, the company confirmed
In a statement Boeing told the Washington Post that it has "conducted a thorough investigation with the assistance of our NASA and industry partners, we are confident that we have found the cause and are moving forward with corrective action."
The leak is likely to delay its launch plan and is another setback for a program that has faced a number of problems. It also comes as Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce the crews for the first missions during a ceremony in early August at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Along with SpaceX, Boeing is under contract to NASA astronauts to fly space station. The so-called "Commercial Program" would restore NASA's ability to fly people from the United States, a skill lost in 2011's retreat of the Space Shuttle. Since then, the space agency had to rely on Russia to fly its astronauts space, costing more than $ 80 million per seat.
Under the program, the Boeing contract was worth as much as $ 4.2 billion; SpaceX had $ 2.6 billion for the same number of flights.
The first tests of the program with crews on board should take place this year. However, a recent government report on accountability states that the company's flight plans are "aggressive" and have set "ambitious rather than realistic deadlines, just to delay them frequently."
SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, also faced challenges and is working to show NASA that it has solved a problem that caused one of the uncrewed Falcon 9s to explode during refueling in 2016 ,
In its report, the GAO said that further delays in the program could disrupt "access to the space station" – which would be a tremendous embarrassment for NASA – the space agency has deployed on Boeing and SpaceX to fly astronauts there. But the GAO said the delays could mean that their spacecraft were not certified for their astronauts on Russian missiles before NASA's last flights, which would maintain an American presence on the station until early 2020.
In other words, should the delays continue NASA may find itself unable to reach the station, the NASA lab that cost NASA $ 100 billion to build and operate.
In a statement, NASA said, "Safe to fly always takes precedence over the schedule. As our partners complete their systems, we review the remaining technical details and schedules for flight tests with and without crew.
The agency announced that it will announce an update to the test flight schedules next month.
Boeing Fuel leak detected in June at the White Sands test facility in New Mexico
"The engines have been successfully ignited and run." "During the engine shutdown an anomaly occurred that resulted in a fuel leak." [19659015TheGAOreportalsosaidhewasconcernedaboutanotherdemolitionsystemproblemthatcould"overthrow"andendangerthecrew'ssafety"
Boeing has said that it has resolved this issue and that it is all NASA Meet or exceed requirements.