This was a problem, so at the time nasas only option was to buy seats on russias soyuz, spacecraft as of 2020, the cost of a single soyuz seat has risen to 90 million dollars and nasa has spent nearly 4 billion flying 70 astronauts to the iss. This is also a sore point for some u.s politicians because of russias annexation of crimea and the subsequent cooling of u.s russia. Space relations has made finding a replacement for the shuttle even more pressing. In 2014, the agency spent 6.8 billion dollars on a fleet of space taxis that will blast off from u.s soil and the two companies that won the contract were boeing and spacex. Boeing received the lions share slightly more than 60 of the 6.8 billion nasa awarded receiving 4.2 billion compared to the 2.6 billion spacex acquired for the same amount of work. However, it was understandable. Spacex was considered a risky bet, a wild card whose brash impatience and embrace of failure clashed with the agencys more conservative ethos. Top executives urged spacex employees to be mouthy to disregard traditional chains of command, a trait embodied by musk that made it seem like a rebellious teenager compared to boeings father figure archetype in the aerospace industry. Spacex used the nasa contract to develop the crew dragon capsule and boeing used it to develop the starliner capsule. Both capsules are designed to be reusable spacex also recycles its rocket. The falcon 9, which is used to launch the crew dragon capsule still building a spacecraft designed to fly humans, is an enormous challenge and both companies suffered setbacks and delays that pushed back the original launch date from 2017.
. However, spacex has reached its intended goal first and beat boeing on its own turf last year, defying expectations to become the first american mission to deliver astronauts to the international space station since 2010. A second crude spacex mission to the orbital station was at the end of april, and the company is also planning the first spaceflight crewed entirely by civilians. The inspiration for mission will launch four people, including sponsor jared issikman, into space onboard a crew dragon capsule modified with an observation dome boeing starliner, meanwhile, has continued to struggle, and so what happened to starliner in 2019, its test flight without any astronauts on board, went terribly Awry from the moment it reached orbit, the spacecrafts on board computers were off by 11 hours. Making the autonomous spacecraft think it was in a different part of the mission controllers on the ground had trouble communicating with it. So the company had to correct everything and arrange a new orbital test at its own expense. The second orbital test was hard to schedule due to the international space station only having two compatible docking ports available, one of them being permanently occupied by a dragon crew, capsule for the astronauts on board and the other one often used by a cargo dragon spacecraft. There was a launch window in early 2021, but starliner was not ready, yet the second one was in late july, early august. This was because the cargo ship was not a dragon, but a cygnus birthing on a different kind of docking.
Port starliner was ready on the launch pad, but so was the new module on the iss nauka. Unfortunately, naukas docking triggered a station emergency and starliner was delayed. A couple of days to assess the potential damages to the iss, then, on august 3rd starliner was finally about to launch. However, before liftoff engineers noticed a group of fuel valves in the starliners propulsion, section, werent positioned as programmed with a clear fix to the valve issue. Still elusive, having to take starliner back to the hangar will push boeings plans to launch this month off the table and a log jam of other scheduled flights could extend the delay by several months according to boeing. Vice president john vollmer, the company will continue to work. The issue from the starliner factory – he added that they have decided to stand down for this launch window to make way for other national priority missions. The new launch date will have to be jointly decided by nasa boeing and the united launch alliance after the issue with the valves has been found and fixed. If boeing can find a quick fix, there might be a short launch window mid october after the lucy launched by the ula. But since the technicians still have to find a solution implemented and prove to nasa that it works its more than likely that the next launch opportunity would be no earlier than february of 2022, then again, a valve design redesign could take much longer.
In any case, the next steps are to de stack, the starliner and separate the crew module and service module. Before sending them back to the factory, then they will be put onto the stand and start a complete analysis to disassemble only what needs to be taken apart. Only then can a tangible time frame be provided by boeing about the fix. What was boeings reaction when the company lost to spacex inside the company officials were embarrassed by the setback another bit of bad news that followed the fatal crashes of two 737 max airplanes. It also triggered a role reversal boeing once the trusted partner was now under renewed scrutiny by nasa, which said it had been lex in its oversight of the company. Nasa also said that, after initially giving boeing a pass, the agency would perform a full safety review of the company, as it did, with spacex after musk was seen taking a puff of marijuana on a podcast streamed on youtube. Ah, yes, the infamous joe rogan experience podcast number 1169 one industry official said executives inside boeing. Cant accept spacex is flying people. First, people are annoyed by elon. How does this guy, who smokes pot, beat us, said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because that person was not authorized to speak publicly? We have a lot of humble pie to eat here. So how does elon musk react? Musk once said that spacex was able to rise, because the big aerospace companies didnt think it would ever amount to anything they screwed themselves because they were just arrogant and complacent.
He said: look boeing, doesnt get out of bed for less than 1 billion dollars. Boeings response was just as combative at the turn of the 21st century before musk entered the space business boeing was building the international space station with nasa, where weve kept astronauts, safe and continuously on orbit. While others talk about aspirations and hopes, we actually do things in space and will deliver on our commitment to americas journey to mars thats. What we get out of bed for, however, when boeings starliner was in trouble after it reached space in late 2019 tone was notably different, having suffered through several failed missions himself. He added a touch of empathy. Orbit is hard. He tweeted best wishes for landing and swift recovery to the next mission. Musk also agreed that competition is a good thing and having another spacecraft only brings advantages so im looking forward to seeing starliner finally reach orbit, hopefully in early 2022, and that just about wraps it up for todays episode. If you like what my team and i are doing and would like to help assist us directly, you can become a patron through our patreon link in the description below dont forget to share your ideas in the comments below. So we know where to improve upon everyones support will be the motivation for us to create more quality content, otherwise thumbs up. If you enjoyed todays episode subscribe, if you havent already and be sure to hit the bell, so you never miss out on future episodes.