The program manager responsible for Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule mission explained how significant testing is. If the team could have performed a series of tests, they would have uncovered issues with the Starliner’s software.
Engineers preferred to take some shortcuts during the ground testing. Back in December 2019, Boeing got a hard time being plagued by the issued software. One, for example, didn’t let the spacecraft to dock with the ISS, while the other could have brought massive damage to the capsule during its way back home.
Both errors could have been solved before liftoff if Boeing had dome more accurate software testing on the ground, according to John Mulholland, vice president of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner project.
More Tests Could Have Prevented the Errors in Boeing’s Starliner
Mulholland’s statement explained how Boeing engineers completed testing of the spacecraft in chunks. Each of their test concentrated on a particular part of the project. Boeing didn’t perform an end-to-end analysis of the full software suite, and in some instances, utilized stand-ins, flight computers, or emulators.
Mulholland said: “We are recommitting ourselves to the discipline needed to test and qualify our products. The Boeing team is committed to the success of the Starliner program, and we are putting in the time and the resources to move forward.”
The OFT (The Orbital Flight Test) from December 2019 was meant to prove the spacecraft’s performance into space for the first time. It would have also prepared it for an astronaut fly this year. The errors caused so much damage that the OFT mission might urge NASA and Boeing to develop a second unpiloted test flight before a crewed mission tests.
Until now, no one had decided if they’re in for another automated test flight. Also, the chances for Starliner to fly again soon are unknown, but we know they’re, in fact, pretty low.