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A NASA contractor is warning the agency to perform more safety inspections before greenlighting the inaugural launch of its Starliner rocket slated for as early as next week.

Reports say ValveTech, a subcontractor for NASA supplying the company with parts for the Starliner aircraft, has issued a press release urging NASA to postpone the latest launch “due to the risk of a disaster occurring on the launchpad.” An initial launch slated for May 6 was scrubbed two hours before launch following a leaking regulator valve in an oxygen tank, but NASA says it is considering a second launch imminently.

“According to media reports, a buzzing sound indicating the leaking valve was noticed by someone walking by the Starliner minutes before launch,” ValveTech President Erin Faville said. “This sound could indicate that the valve has passed its lifecycle.” Faville emphasized that NASA needs to ensure the Starliner is safe before something “catastrophic happens” to astronauts or bystanders.

In response, the CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA), the company launching Boeing’s spacecraft into orbit, disputed ValveTech’s claims on X, writing, “Not sure what to say about this one. Close to none of it is correct. Not urgent. Not leaking. Etc. Remarkable that the particular person quoted doesn’t seem to know how this type of valve works…”

Starliner’s next launch is set for May 17 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

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