Boeing Starliner won't make it to ISS after first launch runs into problems
The uncrewed test flight burned too much fuel after its launch Friday, so it won't reach the space station as planned.
Jackson RyanFormer Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
CST-100 Starliner, a new capsule designed to ferry astronauts to space, cut through the predawn light Friday in Florida atop an Atlas V rocket. The launch itself marked an important milestone in
plan to launch astronauts from US soil to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011.
However, Starliner ran into problems. It suffered "off-nominal insertion" getting into orbit and used too much fuel, according to Boeing. So it cannot reach the ISS.
Ever since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program in 2011, US astronauts have been hitching rides to the ISS aboard Russian rockets. NASA's Commercial Crew Program is meant to bring those capabilities back to the US and has entrusted SpaceX and Boeing to do so.
The original plan was for Starliner to dock with the ISS at 5:27 a.m. PT Saturday. Following a week at the station, Starliner would have undocked on Dec. 28 and returned to Earth.
Watch this: Watch NASA unveil two new prototype spacesuits
Dates for crewed launches of the Boeing Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon have not been set by NASA. Before Friday's launch problem, Bridenstine said the two companies would be taking astronauts to space within months. It's unclear how Friday's issue may affect those plans.
First published at 3:52 a.m. PT. Updated at 7 a.m. PT: Adds details about the problem.
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