Boeing’S Starliner capsule was finally launched on an uncrewed test mission to the ISS

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Boeing launched its Starliner spacecraft, designed to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, on an uncrewed test mission, Thursday evening, at 6:54 pm ET, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Atlas 5 released the Starliner spacecraft nearly 15 minutes after liftoff on a 112-mile-high (181-kilometer) suborbital trajectory. The spacecraft fired up its own thrusters to orient it in the right direction. However during a post-launch briefing, officials revealed that the thrusters didn’t work exactly as intended. “We had two to thrusters fail. The first one that fired, it fired for a second and then it shut down. The flight control system did was what it’s supposed to, and it turned it over to the second thruster,” Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Starliner program, said. Only the third thruster fired as intended. The issue is not expected to impact the overall mission.

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If all goes according to plan, the Starliner spacecraft will arrive at the space station for an automated docking at 7:10 p.m. EDT (2310 GMT) Friday.On board this flight are some supplies for the astronauts already on board the ISS as well as a spacesuit-clad mannequin. Starliner will spend about five days at the space station before aiming for a touchdown in the New Mexico desert next Wednesday.The Starliner test flight is a precursor for future crew missions on the Boeing-owned capsule. Two or three NASA test pilots could strap in by the end of this year or early next for the company’s first crew flight.