NASA, Boeing Starliner launch to ISS delayed again

Science

CNET 03 August, 2021 - 10:00am 77 views

Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a ULA Atlas V rocket in July 2021.

Boeing is hoping to launch its Starliner crew capsule for a second time in an attempt to dock with the International Space Station. Boeing's first try way back in December 2019 failed to reach the correct orbit but gave it valuable data. The company is ready to try again, but its launch attempt got scrubbed Tuesday -- the second delay in less than a week.

Engineers "detected unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system" during a health check of the spacecraft after Monday's electrical storms in the region, Boeing said Tuesday. It's uncertain if the storms were responsible for the technical issue.

The company and NASA are evaluating Wednesday as a possible target for a new launch time.

The mission was originally scheduled to take off Friday, but that was delayed due to an issue Thursday with a Russian ISS module firing its thrusters shortly after docking with the station. That knocked the space station around a little and forced teams to evaluate the station's status.

"The International Space Station team will use the time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival," NASA said in a July 29 statement.

NASA will livestream the launch when it eventually happens.

When Starliner does finally launch, it will lift off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. The capsule will be packed with around 400 pounds of crew supplies and cargo. If all goes well, it'll dock with the space station about 24 hours later. Docking will also be covered live by NASA TV.

Software defects and a communications link problem led to a premature end to the original Boeing test flight in 2019, though the CST-100 Starliner capsule landed safely back on Earth. The upcoming Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is a chance for Boeing to thoroughly vet its hardware and software before a crew of three American astronauts would fly on Starliner.

Both Boeing and SpaceX are part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which is all about sending astronauts to the ISS from American soil. SpaceX has now delivered 10 astronauts to the ISS, and Boeing would like to catch up. But first, it'll need to show that its Starliner can safely reach the ISS and return to Earth.

Starliner will spend between five and 10 days at the ISS before bringing research samples back to Earth. Boeing will aim to bring the spacecraft back for a parachute landing in the desert of New Mexico.

"OFT-2 will provide valuable data that will help NASA certify Boeing's crew transportation system to carry astronauts to and from the space station," NASA said in a statement July 22 after successfully concluding a flight readiness review.

ULA shared some scenic photos from the launch site on Monday as it prepared for liftoff. 

The mission is a key step for NASA's plans to run regular crewed launches from the US, ending its reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. If all goes well, the first crewed mission, Boe-CFT, could launch in the next six months.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.    

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NASA, Boeing Starliner launch to ISS delayed again due to technical issue

CNET 03 August, 2021 - 11:59am

Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft sits atop a ULA Atlas V rocket in July 2021.

Boeing is hoping to launch its Starliner crew capsule for a second time in an attempt to dock with the International Space Station. Boeing's first try way back in December 2019 failed to reach the correct orbit but gave it valuable data. The company is ready to try again, but its launch attempt got scrubbed Tuesday -- the second delay in less than a week.

Engineers "detected unexpected valve position indications in the propulsion system" during a health check of the spacecraft after Monday's electrical storms in the region, Boeing said Tuesday. It's uncertain if the storms were responsible for the technical issue.

The company and NASA are evaluating Wednesday as a possible target for a new launch time.

The mission was originally scheduled to take off Friday, but that was delayed due to an issue Thursday with a Russian ISS module firing its thrusters shortly after docking with the station. That knocked the space station around a little and forced teams to evaluate the station's status.

"The International Space Station team will use the time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival," NASA said in a July 29 statement.

NASA will livestream the launch when it eventually happens.

When Starliner does finally launch, it will lift off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. The capsule will be packed with around 400 pounds of crew supplies and cargo. If all goes well, it'll dock with the space station about 24 hours later. Docking will also be covered live by NASA TV.

Software defects and a communications link problem led to a premature end to the original Boeing test flight in 2019, though the CST-100 Starliner capsule landed safely back on Earth. The upcoming Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is a chance for Boeing to thoroughly vet its hardware and software before a crew of three American astronauts would fly on Starliner.

Both Boeing and SpaceX are part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which is all about sending astronauts to the ISS from American soil. SpaceX has now delivered 10 astronauts to the ISS, and Boeing would like to catch up. But first, it'll need to show that its Starliner can safely reach the ISS and return to Earth.

Starliner will spend between five and 10 days at the ISS before bringing research samples back to Earth. Boeing will aim to bring the spacecraft back for a parachute landing in the desert of New Mexico.

"OFT-2 will provide valuable data that will help NASA certify Boeing's crew transportation system to carry astronauts to and from the space station," NASA said in a statement July 22 after successfully concluding a flight readiness review.

ULA shared some scenic photos from the launch site on Monday as it prepared for liftoff. 

The mission is a key step for NASA's plans to run regular crewed launches from the US, ending its reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. If all goes well, the first crewed mission, Boe-CFT, could launch in the next six months.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.    

Gensler Contemplating Robust Crypto Oversight Regime - BeInCrypto

Investor's Business Daily 03 August, 2021 - 06:12am

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler is looking to establish a robust cryptocurrency regulatory framework.

Gensler asked Congress to give the SEC legal authority to monitor crypto exchanges.

While primarily responsible for investor protection, Gensler says regulation will also provide clarity for the market.

Gravity Dex Protocol: Bringing DeFi to Cosmos

In an interview with Bloomberg, Gensler emphasized that his knowledge of cryptocurrencies would not preclude him from regulating them thoroughly. Gensler said he is “neutral on,” but “intrigued,” by cryptocurrencies, but that he’s “not neutral about investor protection.”

Although individuals are free to make their own investment decisions, Gensler stressed that the SEC had a responsibility to protect them from fraud. While acknowledging that the SEC already has broad authority, Gensler asked Congress to give the agency legal authority to monitor crypto exchanges.

Gensler remarked that technology has sparked economic progress throughout human history. He also sees this kind of potential from digital assets. However, he noted that the automobile industry didn’t fully take off until government regulations made driving safe enough for everyday use. Similarly, he says that the technology’s broader adoption depends on “bringing things inside.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has been a longtime advocate for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. She also feels that regulation will provide the clarity that many crypto investors are seeking. “A lot of people just want more clarity,” she says. “Society needs to have that discussion about what is the right regulatory framework.” 

Although Peirce also feels it’s “high time” the SEC approved a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), Gensler is in no rush. In fact, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related issues are probably not high priorities among 49 non-crypto policy reviews. Others have speculated that he wants to use the ETF applications as a means of getting more control over crypto exchanges. For his part, Gensler said that he thinks regulating crypto exchanges would be the easiest way for the government to manage digital token trading. 

Gensler also expressed concern over peer-to-peer lending on so-called decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. If firms advertise a specific interest-rate return on a crypto asset, Gensler says this could bring the loans under SEC oversight. If platforms that pool digital assets are seen as akin to mutual funds, the SEC could potentially regulate them.

Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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International Space Station Sent Briefly Out of Orbit by Accidental Push by Russian Module

TASS 30 July, 2021 - 05:28am

The Russian module Nauka serves as an extension of Russia’s operations on the ISS. It houses a research lab, storage facility, and airlock.

International Space Station Sent Briefly Out of Orbit by Accidental Push by Russian Module

Digital Trends 30 July, 2021 - 05:28am

The Russian module Nauka serves as an extension of Russia’s operations on the ISS. It houses a research lab, storage facility, and airlock.

International Space Station Sent Briefly Out of Orbit by Accidental Push by Russian Module

TASS 30 July, 2021 - 05:28am

The Russian module Nauka serves as an extension of Russia’s operations on the ISS. It houses a research lab, storage facility, and airlock.

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