Boeing Co’s new astronaut capsule failed after liftoff on Friday to climb high enough in orbit to reach the International Space Station, cutting short a critical unmanned test mission in the embattled aerospace giant’s race to send humans to the orbital outpost.
The CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but an automated timer error, which Boeing could not immediately explain, prevented the spacecraft from attaining the orbit that would have put it on track to rendezvous and dock with the space station, NASA said.
The Starliner’s debut launch to orbit was a milestone test for Boeing, which is vying with SpaceX, the privately held rocket company of billionaire high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, to revive NASA’s human spaceflight capabilities. SpaceX carried out a successful unmanned flight of its Crew Dragon capsule to the space station in March.
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