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Boeing plans repeat uncrewed mission after Starliner fails to reach International Space Station

Boeing's Starliner capsule after an abbreviated orbital mission that failed to reach the International Space Station. Photo: NASA
Boeing, NASA, and U.S. Army personnel work around the Boeing Starliner spacecraft shortly after it landed in White Sands, N.M., Sunday.

Boeing will try once again to launch an uncrewed mission of its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station.  A previous test mission failed to reach the station after launching from Cape Canaveral late last year.

Boeing is testing the vehicle ahead of launching NASA astronauts to the station. An audit found a software issue caused the capsule’s engines to fire incorrectly. It also uncovered issues communicating with the vehicle mid-flight.

Boeing says it will cover the cost of the re-flight. It’s unclear when that will happen.

The company will use the capsule -- named "Spacecraft 2" -- that was slated to launch NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann along with Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson on a test mission to the station.

Meanwhile SpaceX, which completed a successful uncrewed mission last March, is making final preparations for a crewed flight from Kennedy Space Center possibly in late May. NASA astronauts Bob Behnkin and Doug Hurley recently conducted a full simulation of their launch on SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.

Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.
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