Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is leaking all over the ISS, sparking major concerns

Boeing's Starliner capsule that managed to take two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station developed more leaks than previously anticipated.

1 minute & 29 seconds read time

Boeing has recently being going through a bit of trouble with its airline fleet after a fuselage panel blew off a 737 Max shortly after takeoff in early January. The event sparked a series of negative revelations about Boeing's manufacturing and quality control.

It appears the company's airline isn't the only aspect of its business experiencing issues, as Boeing's Starliner capsule, which delivered two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, was found to be leaking helium. NASA is currently evaluating the situation and whether the capsule can be used as a transportation method back to Earth. NASA took to its blog and confirmed five helium leaks had been identified and that after the capsule docked with the ISS, any loss from the helium tanks was prevented.

Notably, the number of helium leaks increased from three to five, with two being identified after the capsule launched on June 5. Furthermore, one leak was identified before the launch, but both NASA and Boeing decided to carry out the launch before the problem was fixed. For those who don't know, helium is used by the spacecraft's thrusters to fire.

"We can handle this particular leak if that leak rate were to grow even up to 100 times," said Steve Stich

As for return mission concerns, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager, Steve Stich, said these leaks are nothing to worry about and the space agency is confident the current helium supply is enough for the NASA astronauts to make it back to Earth.

"Engineers evaluated the helium supply based on current leak rates and determined that Starliner has plenty of margin to support the return trip from station," NASA wrote in its update. "Only seven hours of free-flight time is needed to perform a normal end of mission, and Starliner currently has enough helium left in its tanks to support 70 hours of free flight activity following undocking."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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