Boeing Starliner Fails To Reach ISS Following System Malfunction

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Boeing Starliner was scheduled to take off for a key NASA mission on Friday (December 20). However, the spacecraft failed to achieve the flight test for NASA, which was supposed to fly to the International Space Station and return safely back on Earth. However, a couple of things went wrong as the Starliner's autonomous flight-control system misfired.

Boeing Starliner Fails To Reach ISS: Here’s Why

 

Boeing Starliner Fails Crucial Mission

Shortly after the Boeing Starliner launched, the autonomous flight-control system went haywire sending the spacecraft in the wrong orbit. The Starliner took off at 6:36 AM Eastern Time, aboard the Atlas V rocket built by the joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin called the United Launch Alliance.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told the press in a briefing: "When the spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle, we did not get the orbital insertion burn that we were hoping for." Incidentally, there was no one aboard the Starliner except for a dummy called Rosie. Presently, NASA and Boeing are yet to identify the precise cause of the failure.

"It appears as though the mission elapse timing system had an error in it," Bridenstine said. It could be related to the Starliner's internal clock and there is probably a communication lapse when the computers when and how to fire its rocket thrusters to reach the correct orbit.

"Because that timing was a little bit off, what ended up happening is the spacecraft tried to maintain a very precise control that it normally wouldn't have tried to maintain and it burned a lot of [propellant] in that part of the flight," he said.

 

What Happens To NASA Boeing Partnership?

The Boeing Starliner failed mission was a crucial one as NASA was planning to send astronauts for a manned mission on the next flight. At the same time, both NASA and Boeing say if astronauts were aboard the Starliner, they would still be safe. NASA has granted the company $5 billion to develop the Starliner that's capable of carrying five astronauts.

The latest update is that Boeing has been able to at least partially correct Starliner's trajectory in space. The company has been able to get the vehicle to a stable orbit around the Earth and the engineers are assessing the remaining options for the mission.

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