Boeing Starliner set for 1st uncrewed flight test on Dec 20

Boeing sends first crew capsule to ISS this week

Boeing sends first crew capsule to ISS this week

The test is one of the most daunting milestones required by Nasa's Commercial Crew Programme to certify the capsule for eventual human space flight - a long-delayed goal set back years by development hurdles from both Boeing and SpaceX.

The launch of a Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket remains on track for liftoff at 6:36 a.m. "It landed exactly where it was supposed to", a NASA commentator said in a broadcast from the NASA mission control centre in Houston.

"Starliner in stable orbit. Working the issue", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted, following the announcement of the anomaly. The lift-off was on schedule with the solid rocket boosters jettisoning at two and a half minutes into the flight, followed by the separation of the main stage and the ignition of the Centaur upper stage.

"The spacecraft now is in a safe and stable configuration", Boeing said in a statement.

Early Friday morning, Boeing launched its uncrewed CST-100 Starliner from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but the spacecraft experienced an "off-nominal" orbital insertion that will prevent it from rendezvousing with the International Space Station.

Images broadcast by NASA showed the spacecraft touching down safely in the dark after a descent slowed by three large parachutes. "Eastern on NASA TV". A crew may have been able to take over control and salvage the mission.

Instead of reaching the space station, it will return to Earth on Sunday (December 22).

It was a major setback for Boeing, which had been hoping to catch up with SpaceX, NASA's other commercial crew provider that successfully completed a similar demonstration last March.

He notes too much fuel has been burned, stopping it from it's goal of reaching the International Space Station.

The U.S. has not launched spacecraft from home turf since 2011 when its shuttles were retired.

In a post-launch press briefing, NASA and Boeing officials said the problem stemmed from an automated system on Starliner that should have triggered the built-in thrusters at a certain time.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321).

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