Boeing's Starliner CST-100 in Good Condition Despite Shortened Test Flight

Boeing's Starliner CST-100 in Good Condition Despite Shortened Test Flight

Technicians have successfully retrieved videos from onboard cameras and other data stored on the spacecraft during the flight. The company emphasized on the good condition of the spacecraft with minimal scorching from reentry.

FREMONT, CA: After an abbreviated test flight, the Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle has been approved by Boeing technicians to be in good condition.. The Starliner vehicle landed at the White Sands Missile Range after a two-day uncrewed test flight.

The spacecraft, named Calypso by astronaut Sunita Williams, has been transported back to Boeing’s facilities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Technicians have successfully retrieved videos from onboard cameras and other data stored on the spacecraft during the flight. The company emphasized on the good condition of the spacecraft with minimal scorching from reentry. Also, the spacecraft has used only a portion of the onboard fuel reserved for reentry, which confirms the aerodynamic models of the vehicle.

The interior of the Starliner cabin appears to remain the same after landing, evidence to the spacecraft's fully operational life support system functioning as intended. The concerned authorities have initiated a probe into the timer problem. However, the company is yet to release a statement on the timer problem that turned an original eight-day mission into a two day one, skipping the planned docking at the International Space Station. The spacecraft's mission elapsed time was off by 11 hours, causing the vehicle to think it was on the wrong phase of the mission after separation from the rocket's upper stage. This triggered thruster firings, which used excessive amounts of fuel, forcing ground controllers to take over and turn off the thrusters.

The reason as to why the timer was off by such large amounts, and it wasn't detected prior to launch remains unknown. "If I knew, it wouldn’t have happened. We are surprised. A very large body of integrated tests, approved by NASA, didn’t surface this,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president for Boeing’s space and launch division. NASA believes, once the problem is understood and corrected, Boeing can proceed with a crewed test flight. “It is not something that is going to prevent us from moving forward quickly,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We can still move forward quickly. We can get it fixed.”

Weekly Brief