Boeing Spacecraft Returns to Earth After Aborted Mission

Boeing Spacecraft Returns to Earth After Aborted Mission

Boeing Spacecraft Returns to Earth After Aborted Mission

The Boeing Company, an American corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rockets, satellites, et al, will be launching a milestone test flight today, on Friday, to the International Space Station. The capsule will stay in orbit for a few days but won't dock with the International Space Station as planned.

Those problems apparently stemmed from an error with Starliner's onboard timing system, NASA officials and Boeing representatives said during a postlaunch news conference.

Images broadcast by NASA showed the spacecraft touching down safely in the dark after a descent slowed by three large parachutes. The astronauts assigned to the first Starliner crew - two from NASA and one from Boeing - were part of the welcoming committee.

Cummings was on a Southwest flight to Atlanta Friday morning, as he traveled to visit his sister in OH, when the Atlas V rocket carrying Boeing's Starliner spacecraft lifted off from Florida.

NASA will have to decide whether to carry out another test flight or to trust that the vehicle is safe to carry astronauts. It is orbiting the Earth and Boeing is working to bring it back to the ground.

Update (7:47 AM EST): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says that the agency and Boeing will host a news conference live at 9 AM EST to share more details about the mission status and what occurred.

The Administrator said that while he would not rule out the possibility of a second, uncrewed Orbital Flight Test, he would also not commit to such a proposal at this time, noting that Boeing and NASA will have to review the cause of the software issue and evaluate the impact the fix to that software might have on Starliner's overall certification for flight thus far.

Starliner was able to establish a communications link with the ISS, and to test in space its docking mechanism as well as its solar panels, batteries, thrusters and heat regulation system. Last month, only two parachutes deployed during an atmospheric test because workers failed to connect a pin in the rigging.

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A test dummy named Rosie the Rocketeer - after Rosie the Riveter from World War II - rode in the commander's seat.

Boeing had been shooting for its first astronaut launch in the first half of 2020.

The space agency handed over station deliveries to private businesses, first cargo and then crews, in order to focus on getting astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars. SpaceX may well end up being the first American spacecraft to transport to the ISS since the shuttle fleet retired. Rosie, however, will provide information about the forces exerted during the vehicle's launch and flight, and help provide an even better idea of what that trip will be like for real astronauts once they're strapped in and flying.

"By the time we were able to get signals up to actually command it to do the orbital insertion burn, it was a bit too late", he said. SpaceX kicked off supply runs in 2012. Even when private companies are regularly carrying up astronauts for NASA, the space agency always will reserve a seat for a Russian in exchange for a free USA seat on a Soyuz.

"An astronaut on board could have provided a lot of options to mission control that could have put us in a position to get to the worldwide space station", Bridenstine added during a Saturday briefing.

Boeing has always been involved in NASA's human spacecraft program, from Project Mercury to the shuttle and station programs.

SpaceX carried out a successful unmanned flight of its Crew Dragon capsule to the space station in March.

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