Boeing launches first Starliner test flight
Boeing’s new Starliner space capsule had a turbulent first test flight Friday morning.
Taking off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Starliner — powered by the company’s Atlas V rocket — went off its planned orbital trajectory about 30 minutes into its flight, The Associated Press reports.
According to Boeing, the Starliner was supposed to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) Saturday, but the capsule wasn’t able to get into the position required to make it to the ISS.
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NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineBoeing launches first Starliner test flight Doug Loverro’s job is to restore American spaceflight to the ISS and the moon Why Voyager 2’s discoveries from interstellar space have scientists excited MORE tweeted that because of going off course the Starliner was burning more fuel than expected.
Because #Starliner believed it was in an orbital insertion burn (or that the burn was complete), the dead bands were reduced and the spacecraft burned more fuel than anticipated to maintain precise control. This precluded @Space_Station rendezvous.
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) December 20, 2019
“Safe and stable is the important thing right now,” Boeing spokeswoman Kelly Kaplan told reporters.
If the launch had been successful, the Starliner, which is designed to hold up to seven astronauts, could have been making a manned mission to space as soon this coming summer, but Friday’s shaky test has put that timeline in jeopardy.
NASA has a press conference regarding the Starliner scheduled for 9:30 a.m.