Boeing’s Starliner can stay in space beyond 45-day limit, NASA says

Boeing’s Starliner capsule is performing well enough on its first-ever astronaut mission that it will likely be able to stay in orbit beyond the initially envisioned 45-day limit, NASA says.

Starliner, which launched on June 5, is docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on an indefinite mission extension. The spacecraft is in good shape and rated to leave the ISS in case of emergency. But both NASA and Boeing are trying to understand why some of Starliner’s reaction control system (RCS) thrusters experienced issues in the leadup to docking with the ISS on June 6, and why several helium leaks have sprung up in the capsule. As such, Starliner will stay in space until at least later in the summer as testing and analyses continue. For example, a new round of thruster tests on the ground will begin soon, perhaps as early as today (July 2).

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