Boeing’s Starliner capsule took off on Friday from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Still, minutes after parting from the Atlas V rocket, its thrusters no longer activated, stopping it from getting to the scheduled altitude to be able to travel to the International Space Station (ISS).
The new uncrewed spacecraft landed on Earth on Sunday, in the New Mexico desert, after a clock issue messed with the scheduled mission to the ISS. The International Space Station orbits at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) above our planet.
Images broadcast live by NASA depicted the vehicle touching down safely with the help of three of its parachutes. The flight was set to be the final test before a human-crewed expedition. Still, after the spacecraft wasted a considerable amount of fuel as it searched for its orbit, both Boeing and NASA were obliged to return the Starliner to Earth without continuing the mission.
Boeing’s Starliner Fails Mission After Spending Minutes in Atmosphere
Jim Chilton, Senior Vice-President of Boeing’s space and launch department, said that they started the clock at the wrong time, and that was the reason for the capsule’s fail. The mistake was the most severe recent regression for the company, which is still recovering from two deadly crashes of its 737 Max airliner.
The accidents, which occurred in October 2018 in Indonesia, and in March 2019 in Ethiopia, took the lives of 346 people. Boeing now plans to halt the production of planes in January. Even though the mission had ticked all the failure elements, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine kept insisting that the mission was not a complete mishap.
“The NASA team and the Boeing team have been working, hand in glove, to accomplish as many of the test objectives as we can,” he said before the Starliner’s landing. NASA will have to make a decision on whether to continue performing another test flight or to trust that the capsule is secure to transport astronauts to the ISS. Starliner’s first human-crewed mission has been set to take place in early 2020. Another capsule, the Crew Dragon, developed by SpaceX for NASA, is expected to be all set for launch next year.