Two helium leaks found on Boeing Starliner as it heads to space station | Space | Space

Two helium leaks have been detected on Boeing’s Starliner space capsule that is making its way to the International Space Station, the US space agency, Nasa, said late on Wednesday.

The inert gas is used to power thrusters in the capsule carrying the two astronauts that was carried atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday on the giant rocket’s first piloted test flight.

Engineers had discovered a small-but-persistent helium leak before launch that was deemed acceptable. Nasa said the two latest leaks were new and had been discovered after the spacecraft arrived in orbit.

“Two of the affected helium valves have been closed and the spacecraft remains stable”, the agency said in a post on X.

News of the leaks first came from a Nasa broadcast when the astronauts Butch Willmore and Suni Williams were about to go to sleep and mission control informed them that they needed to shut down two valves.

“Looks like we picked up a couple more helium leaks,” mission control said. Astronaut Wilmore responded: “We are ready to … find out exactly what you mean by picked up another helium leak, so give it to us.”

“Butch, I’m sorry. We’re still getting the story together,” mission control replied.

“We have some issues to watch overnight when in regards to the helium leaks that was just brought up, and we have a lot of…

Source www.theguardian.com

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