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Boeing takes $185 million Charge

Boeing announced that it is taking $185 million charges against its earnings to cover the costs to get it’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle flying again. The company announced the charge in the release of its second quarter financial results, saying the charge was caused by the second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test now anticipated in 2022 and the latest assessment of remaining work.

Boeing took a $410 million charge in January 2020 to cover the costs it anticipated at the time to complete a second uncrewed flight after software problems truncated the original OFT mission in December 2019. Boeing had planned to perform that second uncrewed test flight, OFT-2, in early August but scrubbed a launch attempt hours before scheduled liftoff when valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system failed to open.

Engineers found that 13 valves were stuck shut, most likely when nitrogen tetroxide propellant seeped through the valves and mixed with moisture, creating nitric acid that corroded the valves. NASA and Boeing officials said they were continuing to investigate the problem, including why the corrosion was seen on the Starliner for OFT-2 when it did not take place before the first.

OFT mission or during a hotfire test of the Starliner service module and a pad abort test in 2019.  The work included removing valves from the spacecraft for extensive testing, as well as exposing similar valves to the same conditions, such as humidity and temperature, experienced for OFT-2.

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