Boeing sends 'Rosie' dummy to space in key crewless mission

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The CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule was successfully launched from Florida on Friday, but an automated timer error prevented the spacecraft from attaining the correct orbit for it to meet and dock with the space station.

Starliner will be staying at the global space station for a week before its starts undocking and beginning its return to Earth on December 28.

The Starliner - Boeings answer to SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule - was supposed to reach the International Space Station and deliver, amongst other things, Christmas treats and presents for the six space station residents, but a rendezvous may now be out of the question.

The OFT was designed as a critical milestone to test Starliner for future crewed missions. Then, it will remain in the station until December 27 before it returns to Earth. The Commercial Crew Program is supporting the development of crewed spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX that will free NASA from reliance on Russian Federation.

A NASA video showed the first arrivals getting the first look at the capsule and probing the atmosphere around the craft for possible toxicity.

An industry source with knowledge of the matter told Fox News on Friday that the Atlas rocket performed as intended, placing the Starliner into orbit. "Teams worked quickly to ensure the spacecraft was in a stable orbit and preserved enough fuel for a landing opportunity", NASA said.

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Boeing retained spacecraft control, and was left trying to figure out how best to manage the Starliner's flight.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted that, "Because Starliner believed it was in an orbital insertion burn (or that the burn was complete), the dead bands were reduced and the spacecraft burned more fuel than anticipated to maintain precise control".

But neither firm has yet launched a manned test of its newest capsule. Ultimately, the spacecraft didn't do what its automated systems were created to do and Starliner will not be making it to the space station this time around.

When the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off in 2011, it was the last time astronauts left earth on a US built spacecraft. However, due to a bug in the so-called mission timing system, she has dropped off course, which means that she will miss her one-week stay on the space station, officials said.

"This is why we flight test, right?"

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