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Astronauts stranded in space due to multiple issues with Boeing's Starliner — Return window closing


Grim Reaper 6

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Two NASA astronauts who rode to orbit on Boeing's Starliner are currently stranded in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS) after engineers discovered numerous issues with the Boeing spacecraft. Teams on the ground are now racing to assess Starliner's status.

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were originally scheduled to return to Earth on June 13 after a week on the ISS, but their stay has been extended for a third time due to the ongoing issues.  The astronauts will now return home no sooner than June 26th, according to NASA.
 

 

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Yeah….I don’t think you want to try re-entry with a helium leak.  

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17 minutes ago, Guyver said:

Yeah….I don’t think you want to try re-entry with a helium leak.  

That’s for certain, thankfully they discovered the issue before they tried too.

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Total and utter nonsense.

They are not stranded, they can return at any time. The spacecraft remains healthy, the helium leaks are small and manageable and they have a considerable quantity in reserve. The Starliner remains the "safe haven" for Butch and Suni, which it most certainly would not if NASA had any doubts about it's safety or flight worthiness.

Not only is this article inaccurate at best and a pack of lies at worst, it is also out of date. The mission has been extended until early July. NASA had always made the flight plan flexible, so that it could be extended if things were going well.

19 minutes ago, Guyver said:

Yeah….I don’t think you want to try re-entry with a helium leak.  

And why is that then?

Helium is an inert gas, it's non-flammable, non-explosive and non-reactive. Further more the helium leaks are in the service module... the section of the spacecraft that is jettisoned before re-entry.

It is the fact that the helium leaks are in the service module that is prompting NASA to extend the mission. Since it doesn't return to earth the service module can not be examined by engineers after the mission. Extending the mission allows the engineers more to time to investigate the issue.

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10 minutes ago, Grim Reaper 6 said:

That’s for certain, thankfully they discovered the issue before they tried too.

Don't make the fact that you have posted such rubbish worse by making comments like this.

Common sense should tell you that if the leaking helium was going to be an issue that would have brought the spacecraft home early, before it ran out of helium, rather than keep it in space longer.

In fact they knew they had a helium leak BEFORE they launched... that's how worried they were.

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5 minutes ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

Total and utter nonsense.

They are not stranded, they can return at any time. The spacecraft remains healthy, the helium leaks are small and manageable and they have a considerable quantity in reserve. The Starliner remains the "safe haven" for Butch and Suni, which it most certainly would not if NASA had any doubts about it's safety or flight worthiness.

Not only is this article inaccurate at best and a pack of lies at worst, it is also out of date. The mission has been extended until early July. NASA had always made the flight plan flexible, so that it could be extended if things were going well.

And why is that then?

Helium is an inert gas, it's non-flammable, non-explosive and non-reactive. Further more the helium leaks are in the service module... the section of the spacecraft that is jettisoned before re-entry.

It is the fact that the helium leaks are in the service module that is prompting NASA to extend the mission. Since it doesn't return to earth the service module can not be examined by engineers after the mission. Extending the mission allows the engineers more to time to investigate the issue.

I didn’t realize that helium was inflammable, I just assumed it was flammable and could ignite like many other gases.

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9 minutes ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

Don't make the fact that you have posted such rubbish worse by making comments like this.

Sorry @Grim Reaper 6 that comes across as an attack on you, which is totally unfair. I'm angry with the idiots that write this stuff, not you for posting it.

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5 minutes ago, Guyver said:

I didn’t realize that helium was inflammable, I just assumed it was flammable and could ignite like many other gases.

A little point, thanks to the wonderful, illogical, world of chemistry, inflammable actually means the same as flammable (I spent 20 years working as a chemist and I could never work out why that is).

Helium is used because it is so non-reactive. It is used to pressurise thanks, fuel lines, etc. It won't react with the fuel. In space you can't let liquids flow due to gravity in the same way that you can on Earth. Helium is used to "push" fuel into the thrusters.

Running out of helium would be the start of a very bad day as you would no longer be able to steer the spacecraft, or fire the engines to bring it home. One of the reasons that NASA are extending the mission is to better understand the issue. Future Starliner missions are scheduled to remain docked to the ISS for 6 months at a time. On missions that long a leak could become an issue.

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2 minutes ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

Sorry @Grim Reaper 6 that comes across as an attack on you, which is totally unfair. I'm angry with the idiots that write this stuff, not you for posting it.

No problem water under the bridge, thanks for your comments above. I realize that helium is a nonflammable gas, but having five helium leaks to the system that pressurizes the spacecraft's propulsion system is a serious problem and that’s what I was referring to in my post.

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