For the first time in their history, Boeing sent out a tripulated rocket called ‘Starliner’ on Dec 20, 2019 as part of a big test to be the first American company to take astronauts into space for more than 10 years. The spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral at Kennedy Space Center headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Starliner launched unmanned, and inside was an anthropometric test device - a dummy with more than a dozen sensors to measure the astronaut’s full face. The mission was set out to dock the rocket with the space station on Dec 21, but it didn’t achieve its intended orbit after launching, making it impossible to complete its mission.

NASA gave Boeing nearly $5 billion to develop Starliner, which was built to carry as many as five astronauts. This was intended to be one of the final tests before the spacecraft flied actual people, but the company still expects it will still be able to test many of the Starliner’s system while the capsule is in space, and being able to bring it back to Earth.

The failure of this mission is the second setback that Boeing has suffered in 2019, after two fatal crashes of its 737 Max commercial airplanes killed 346 people - resulting in millions of dollars in losses and the suspension of production of its bestselling aircraft for the next months. This also means a blow for NASA’s intensions to send back astronauts to the space stations.

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Boeing Spacecraft Starliner