Boeing Starliner Capsule 'Healthy', Orbit Stable, Sunday Landing Expected in New Mexico

Sunday, 22 Dec, 2019

SpaceX has one last barrier, which is a launch abort test, before transporting two NASA astronauts in its Dragon vehicle - a mission set to launch in the spring.

The implications for any further design and testing requirements before Starliner is approved for its first crewed mission also remained unclear.

Starliner successfully separated from the rocket about 15 minutes into flight.

Starliner and the Atlas V are slated to carry off Friday at 6:36 a.m. EST. 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.

NASA chief Jim Bridentine told reporters after the scrapped mission that he would not rule out the possibility that Boeing could move on to its human mission, depending on the outcome out of a probe into Friday's glitch. Once they fired, they burned more fuel than anticipated, putting a rendezvous with the ISS out of reach.

Boeing has been involved with NASA's human spacecraft program for a long time, starting with the Project Mercury to the shuttle and station missions, and started working on the Starliner in 2010. Last April, a SpaceX capsule created to carry astronauts exploded during a ground test.

Essentially, the Starliner thought the time that had elapsed "was different than it actually was", said Bridenstine. NASA said any astronauts on board would not have been at risk due to Starliner veering off-course - in fact, they might have been able to take over the spacecraft and tried to get the thruster burn right. NASA has projected that the Starliner and Crew Dragon spaceships will conduct their first flights to the ISS in 2020. However, a couple of things went wrong as the Starliner's autonomous flight-control system misfired. "And this is, in fact, why we test". It's a serious blow to Boeing's aspirations to eventually deliver astronauts to the ISS on behalf of NASA. "The Soyuz rides have cost NASA up to $86 million apiece".

It's not clear how much of a setback this is for Boeing. One of their craft exploded last April during a test firing.

While the Starliner is a passenger spacecraft, created to shuttle people to and from space, Friday's flight was an unmanned mission to the ISS.

But about half an hour into the mission, called Orbital Flight Test, it became apparent something had gone awry.

Nasa astronaut Mike Fincke added: "Had we been on board, we could have given the flight control team more options on what to do in this situation".