Starliner space taxi falls short on first flight

Starliner launch
Boeing’s Starliner space taxi lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. (NASA Photo / Joel Kowsky)

Boeing’s Starliner space taxi blasted off for the first time today on an uncrewed mission to the International Space Station, but ran into a problem that precluded a space station rendezvous.

The anomaly is sure to complicate preparations for the crewed Starliner mission that’s supposed to follow up on the uncrewed test flight. But NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the crewed mission could go ahead as planned without first having to do another uncrewed test.

“I think it’s too early for us to make that assessment,” Bridenstine said at a post-launch news conference.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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