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Monday, May 25, 2020

Boeing plans to retest Starliner flight after botched mission

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Boeing Co said Monday it would send its astronaut Starliner on another unmanned mission to the International Space Station, months after the end of its last flight due to a software bug.

During the December test, a series of software problems and a problem with the spacecraft’s automated timer prevented Starliner from docking at the space station and returning to Earth a week earlier.

In February, a NASA safety review committee found that Boeing narrowly missed a “catastrophic failure” in the botched test and recommended that it review the company’s software verification process before it let humans fly into space.

NASA officials refrained from ordering a reinstatement because they “didn’t think it would be enough” to address all of the concerns raised during the safety review, an official with Reuters said. agency, adding that NASA would make additional recommendations.

Boeing and Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX are separately building space taxis to transport astronauts to the space station as part of NASA’s efforts to relaunch its human space flight program.

“Taking another unmanned flight will allow us to meet all of the flight test objectives and assess the performance of the second Starliner vehicle at no cost to the taxpayer,” the company said in a statement. (Report by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru and Joey Roulette in Washington; edited by Shinjini Ganguli and Peter Cooney)

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