EARLIER THIS MONTH, NASA AND BOEING COMPLETED THE FIRST FLIGHT TEST OF THE STARLINER SPACECRAFT, BUT FAILED TO FULLY ACHIEVE ITS INTENDED GOAL. The spacecraft failed to reach its intended orbit and docked at the International Space Station as planned, and the eight-day mission turned into two days. The problem is caused by the timer:
The spacecraft’s mission passed 11 hours before the Atlas 5 rocket took off, causing the spacecraft to think it was at the wrong stage after it broke away from the rocket, triggering the thruster to ignite early, until ground controllers took over and shut down the thrusters.
It is not clear why the time timer went wrong and why it was not discovered in advance. NASA believes that if the problem is solved, it will not prevent Boeing from conducting manned flight tests.