Boeing to refly failed Starliner space mission
Boeing has announced that it will refly the failed unmanned first flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. The do-over of the December 2019 Orbital Test Flight will be paid for by Boeing and is aimed at fulfilling the test objectives that the shortened original mission was unable to complete.
On December 20, 2019, Boeing launched an unmanned version of the Starliner spacecraft that it is developing to ferry astronauts from American soil to the International Space Station (ISS), as well as serving private or international manned missions in low-Earth orbit. However, shortly after lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a malfunction occurred that caused the craft's thrusters to misfire, wasting propellant and sending it into the wrong orbit.
The Starliner was brought back to Earth by ground controllers 48 hours later, making a soft, controlled landing at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. A subsequent investigation revealed that the accident was caused by two software failures that threw off the onboard Mission Elapsed Timer (MET) by 11 hours and caused the Service Module to improperly separate. These were exacerbated by the brief failure of the command and control link during launch, which prevented the Flight Control team from directly correcting the timer malfunction.
Boeing has not announced when the new mission will take place, or how this will affect the scheduling of the first manned orbital mission of the Starliner.