Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft Disappoints in Key Test

Boeing sends first crew capsule to ISS this week

Boeing sends first crew capsule to ISS this week

Called the Orbital Flight Test (OFT), the mission is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program and aims to demonstrate that the vehicle will be able to safely ferry astronauts to the ISS and back. The Atlas V performed as intended, depositing the Starliner in the upper atmosphere.

"The spacecraft now is in a stable configuration while flight controllers are troubleshooting", said a statement on NASA's website.

Mr Bridenstine told a news conference the timer error meant the capsule burned fuel too soon, preventing it from reaching the desired orbit. But difficulties ensued with thrusters created to boost the capsule's orbit to the proper altitude. Meanwhile, Boeing reports that the CST-100 is "safe and stable".

But because of the mishap, the station docking was scrapped, and Boeing and NASA chose to bring the spacecraft home as soon as possible.

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Morning lows will be in the single digits, with highs moderating into the upper 30s under sunny skies. Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, bitterly cold temperatures are in the forecast.

The Starliner that landed today will be refurbished for Boeings first operational crewed mission, following the Crew Flight Test. NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will fly on that mission, dubbed the spacecraft Calypso after the ship of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau.

The agency hasn't had a way to take astronauts into space since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Friday's problem was the latest in a series of delays that have plagued efforts to restore USA space flight and it was unclear what impact it would have.

"Congratulations, Starliner", said Mission Control, calling it a successful touchdown. "Over the last 24 hours looked very hard at that and we think we're ready to go", he said on Saturday.

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We'll have to wait and see when NASA plans to try things again, but it certainly won't be before the new year.

"We've had teams looking at what happened with the timers, and anything that could affect us on re-entry". Previously, SpaceX conducted a similar mission in March 2019 successfully. It is orbiting the Earth and Boeing is working to bring it back to the ground. This is yet another black mark on Boeing's record as it faces increased scrutiny in the wake of the 737 Max aircraft crashes.

There are still many unanswered questions in all of this, including how the Starliner's timer ended up so out of sync with the mission. Now, it's just another failure the company has to spin.

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