A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket successfully boosted a Boeing Starliner capsule into orbit Friday for an unpiloted maiden test flight, but problems with a subsequent on-board rocket firing left the spacecraft in a lower-than-planned orbit, apparently preventing a planned rendezvous with the International Space Station. “Despite launching successfully at 6:36 a.m. EST Friday on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is not in its planned orbit,” NASA said in a brief statement. “The spacecraft currently is in a stable configuration while flight controllers are troubleshooting.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine later tweeted the Starliner mistakenly “believed it was in an orbital insertion burn (or that the burn was complete) … the spacecraft burned more fuel than anticipated to maintain precise control. This precluded @Space_Station rendezvous.” Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston were in contact with the Starliner and reported they were able to control the capsule’s orientation. No orbital parameters were provided and it was not immediately known what went wrong, what might be required to fix it or whether flight controllers might be able to put the craft… Read full this story
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