NASA and Boeing: The Show Must Go On, Even with Starliner’s Leaky Helium and Design Hiccup

NASA and Boeing aren’t letting a little thing like a helium leak or a design flaw rain on their parade. They’re pushing full steam ahead with the June 1 launch of the Starliner capsule, ready to send astronauts to space for the first time in this shiny new spacecraft.

Sure, they had to postpone the original launch date due to the leak and an issue with the Atlas V rocket, but Boeing’s VP Mark Nappi isn’t sweating it. “We know we can manage this [leak], so this is really not a safety of flight issue,” he said with a confident grin.

And yeah, they found a design vulnerability that could maybe possibly prevent the deorbit burn needed to bring the crew home safely, but the chances of that happening are like 0.77%. NASA’s Steve Stich pointed out that they’ve flown with small helium leaks before, so it’s no biggie.

The Starliner team whipped up a workaround for the design flaw, and everyone’s feeling pretty good about it. They’ll do one more review on May 29, roll out the rocket and capsule on May 30, and then it’s showtime!

This mission is a big deal for Boeing and NASA – it’s the final test before Starliner starts regular trips to the International Space Station. They’re not about to let a couple of small hiccups derail their plans. Onwards and upwards!