WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

NASA Safety Panel Raises Software, Safety Concerns Of Boeing’s Starliner Capsule

Boeing's Starliner capsule after an abbreviated orbital mission that failed to reach the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

A NASA safety panel says Boeing has a lot of work to do before launching humans to the International Space Station on its new Starliner space capsule. The recommendations come after an uncrewed test mission failed to reach its intended orbit.

A software anomaly cut the mission short, causing engines on the capsule to fire incorrectly and use up fuel. The capsule landed safely back on Earth but did not rendezvous and dock with the station.

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said a second software error was uncovered — one that could have led to a “catastrophic failure” — and recommends a broad review of Boeing’s software and safety practices.

“As a result, the panel recommends NASA pursue not just root cause [investigations] of these specific flight software anomalies, but also a Boeing assessment of and corrective actions for Boeing’s flight software integration and testing procedures,” said ASAP panel member Paul Hill.

“Boeing and NASA are still evaluating root cause and corrective actions for these software anomalies. But these specific anomalies are beyond the specific anomalies, the panel has larger concern with the rigors of Boeing’s verification processes.”

The company was planning to launch a crewed mission next, but NASA is still deciding whether another uncrewed mission is required.

“We accept and appreciate the recommendations of the jointly led NASA-Boeing Independent Review Team (IRT) as well as suggestions from the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel following Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT). Their insights are invaluable to the Commercial Crew Program and we will work with NASA to comprehensively apply their recommendations,” said Boeing in a statement. “We are already working on many of the recommended fixes including re-verifying flight software code.”

Meanwhile, SpaceX is getting ready to launch humans to the space station as early as this spring after a successful uncrewed test mission last year.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »

TOP