Boeing Starliner Flight Fails to Reach the ISS

Well, this is indeed a post that I didn’t think I’d need to make.

Somewhere, somehow, some of the smartest and most experienced people in spaceflight messed up. One expects this from a new company like SpaceX. Boeing claimed that part of its higher price was because of its experience with these things, yet SpaceX’s Dragon had a successful uncrewed test flight and Boeing’s Starliner will not. The entire Commercial Crew program is already critically behind schedule and this problem will have far reaching consequences for all involved.

Bassically, this morning’s first launch of Boeing’s new spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, has resulted in an “Off Nominal Insertion” which is technical jargon for “will not get where it was intended to go” and perhaps may even mean, “will return immediately and involuntarily back to Earth at an unintended time and location”.

There is not a lot of detailed information about this likely anomaly available, but a lot of speculation that the capsule will not reach orbit. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has at least admitted that it will not make it to the International Space Station.

If true, I don’t have to express how devastating this is to Commercial crew and especially to Boeing, who are still struggling through the consequences of problems with their Boeing 737 Max Aircraft. I don’t know how they will avoid having to repeat this test before flying crew and their funding for this has already been strained to the point of needing to go whining to NASA for more money.

More information event on this will be available later in about an hour at 9:00 am EST on the YouTube channel link below. At the very least, SpaceX just took the undisputed lead in the area of ISS flights and perhaps even became NASA’s sole provider of crewed flights for 2020…unless the powers that be decide to keep flying with Russia for another year…which might not even be possible at this late date (and strained state Russian relations).

I have other things to do today, but I will get back to this once there is more information available.


~ by Bill Housley on December 20, 2019.

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