Starliner’s timer was off—capsule thought engines were firing when they weren’t

Right on schedule Friday morning, an Atlas V rocket launched the Starliner spacecraft into a planned suborbital trajectory. This is a critical mission for NASA and Boeing, as the company seeks to use this test flight to prove its capsule's readiness to launch humans into space next year.

After being released by the rocket, Starliner was supposed to use its Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control engines to provide the thrust needed to reach a stable orbit and begin the process of catching up to the International Space Station. But that did not happen.

During a post-launch news conference, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained that the mission elapsed timing system had an error in it, with the net effect that the spacecraft thought it was performing an orbital insertion burn, when in fact it was not. The on-board computer then expended a significant amount of propellant to maintain a precise attitude, thinking it had reached orbit.

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https://arstechnica.com/?p=1635521

Source: Ars Technica

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