Boeing’s Starliner launch could face delay of several months

Boeing said the contracts with the US military would ensure the continuation of the Harpoon program through 2026 and restart the SLAM ER production line

Boeing Co’s (BA.N) Starliner space capsule launch could be delayed by several months as it will likely need to be removed from atop a rocket for repairs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, Boeing scrubbed the launch of its much awaited CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station after discovering a glitch in its propulsion system valves during pre-launch checks.

Boeing declined to comment on the WSJ report when contacted by Reuters.

The delay in CST-100 Starliner’s launch is the latest setback for a U.S. aerospace giant reeling from back-to-back crises – a pandemic that crushed demand for new jetliners and a safety scandal caused by two fatal 737 MAX crashes – that have damaged Boeing’s finances and engineering reputation.

The uncrewed test flight’s delay also throws into question the timing of its follow-on mission with a crew onboard, which Boeing has said would take place no earlier than December.

Separately, Boeing said late on Thursday it fixed nine of its 13 CST-100 Starliner propulsion system valves and the remaining four still remained closed.

The announcement comes after Boeing said earlier this week it was assessing multiple dates for the launch of its space capsule.

Boeing also said it was working with NASA and United Launch Alliance to confirm launch dates when the spacecraft is ready.

The CST-100 Starliner will take people to and from a low-earth orbit. Boeing is competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to take NASA astronauts to the space station from the United States.

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