Will Boeing's Starliner return with an astronaut?
Jul 31

Following an iffy docking at the International Space Station last week, Boeing managed to deliver a pair of NASA astronauts to the orbital lab. The stressful Starliner saga continues as the crew capsule developed more leaks in its service module. NASA is currently evaluating its ability to return the duo back to Earth.

In an update shared on Monday, NASA revealed that the Starliner teams are assessing the impact that five helium leaks would have on the remainder of the mission. “While Starliner is docked, all the manifolds are closed per normal mission operations preventing helium loss from the tanks,” the space agency wrote.


This market resolves yes if the currently docked Starliner returns with an astronaut. It could be any of the people on the ISS onboard. This market resolves NO if it undocks with no astronaut.

If Starliner undocks, a mission critical error happens and they redock, the market is extended.

If it explodes and kills them, still resolves YES.

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Day 36 of Nasa's 8 day mission

Day 26 of Nasa's 8 day mission

Not much of an update tbh

"Not stranded" but there is no date for a return.

I suppose that if the space station was about to explode, the Starliner would be a pretty good option for reentry. They've said that the Starliner is fine for an emergency evacuation, which this situation is not.

made a fun little sidemarket:

I made a follow-up market!

How is this still at 88%? It's getting sort of absurd.

There were now four delays for the same reason - to continue to "review more data" on the thrusters. For PR reasons, they will obviously never say that the ship is unsafe until they are going to burn it up in the atmosphere. As long as there is a 1% chance that they might return home in it, they'll keep up with this current line, and that's where I think the true odds are right now: 1%.

It's rare that any market on Manifold presents a better NO profit opportunity than the Eliezer Yudkowsky market ( /Joshua/will-eliezer-yudkowsky-win-his-1500 ). This market is starting to approach that market's skew, in that the people betting do not seem to have taken much time at all to review all the evidence on the NO side of either market.

it's clear people are too terrified of Boeing's wrath to bet NO 🔪 🩸


lmao i have been following starliner's development for years now, and if anything the market should be at 95. if you understand what the actual issues are with the ship right now you know that those are pretty fixable issues with software and most of the delays are for data collection to use it on the next flights. nasa and Boeing have been pretty transparent with all the issues as they sort of have to.

I still think that even if they find a software fix, it's completely different to fix the issues when they are out in space alone, and when they are already at a safe space station.

These organizations are extremely risk averse. I don't see how they could get the loss of crew rate down below 1 in 100 at this point, and certainly not below 1 in 200. For Dragon's initial flight, they launched with 276, which was just barely above their tolerance.

This will be evaluated as if it is a launch of an entirely new mission, because it sort of is.

I also want to point out that if the engines fail while they are out in space, they would likely starve and die.

It would be an extraordinary feat of engineering to send up a rescue mission or to use one of the capsules on the space station to perform a rescue. Even if they survive, it 100% certainly means the end of the Starliner program.

You did realise the engines that were shut off were
1. Supposed to reach like 110psi but were actually only reaching ~108psi so the engines were working just a slight underperformance that cause the software to say lets not use these thrusters.
2. They were able to get the software to use them again before docking with ISS.
3. The thrusters were shut off by the software as the capsule was making lots of thruster fires preparing to dock. The return journey doesn't have to have that rapid frequent use of thrusters, though they will include some extra tests on the return journey to gather more data.
4. If there is a slight underperformance on thrusters for the relatively critical deorbit burn, then the software will be quite capable of running the thrusters slightly longer to compensate.

cmon @SteveSokolowski buy more NO shares. I will place a 10k limit on 90% if you put in more Mana

I think that this market will push upward as more time goes by without any type of announcement, as often happens once things fade from view. I'll wait because I think there will be better prices in July.

I've extended the timer to the end of July due to indefinite extension by Nasa.

The funniest outcome is it becomes impossible to undock on its own thus becoming a tumor on the ISS

My first featured market :D


@SF Brave bet @99%

😆 good luck

Surprised to see this at 95%- Maybe the fear mongering is a bit overblown.

There have been no indications of show-stopping issues, and also having astronauts return on an emergency unscheduled capsule has never been done before. I'm not sure if there's even protocols for it. I'm not sure who would even pay for it.

Now granted it hasn't ever really been possible before SpaceX/Dragon, but still. Also Boeing concerns are excessively high in the media, which feeds into people's concerns with this too. Helium is just tricky tbh, but small leaks aren't per se Problems.

If be very surprised if it turns out I bet wrong on this market, but also kind of excited, I'd love to see a rescue mission like that. As long as everyone is safe of course.

Oh and Starliner can't return by itself until there is a replacement capsule there because one of the ISS protocols is that there's always enough capsules for the number of astronauts on board to make an emergency escape if needed.

>"and also having astronauts return on an emergency unscheduled capsule has never been done before."
When Soyuz MS-22 was unable to return crew they returned on scheduled capsules (One sent up empty rather than with planned crew.) So more likely the same again rather than an unscheduled rescue mission.

I do agree that this is very unlikely in this case. The issues are clearly issues they can deal with and not showstoppers.

Oh cool didn't know about Soyuz MS-22!

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