Boeing can’t catch a break.

Space Schlamassel

Boeing is having trouble docking its much-maligned Starliner spacecraft with the International Space Station.

Earlier this week, Boeing finally launched its shuttle into space with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams into orbit after many years of delays, technical issues, an unsuccessful test flight and more.

Now, aside from discovering several helium leaks on the way to the ISS, Boeing had to call off its first docking attempt with the orbital outpost due to reaction-control thrusters malfunctioning — adding to a growing pile of misfortunes for the embattled company.

The cursed spacecraft had to hold its position around 850 feet from the space station to conduct a series of hot fire tests.

“We lost the first docking window,” NASA communicator Neal Nagato told the patiently waiting Starliner crew, as quoted by “We’re still analyzing all the data in getting a path to approach for the next docking window.”

What a Mess

NASA later announced that it was ready to allow the capsule to enter the “keep out sphere” of the space station, suggesting a second attempt will happen soon. The docking window opens up again at 1:33 pm Eastern time.

It’s unclear if the reaction-control thruster malfunction is related to the helium leaks Boeing encountered after launch. Earlier today, Boeing clarified that “helium is used in spacecraft thruster systems to allow the thrusters to fire and is not combustible or toxic,” and that the leak doesn’t pose a “safety issue for the crew, the vehicle or the mission.”

Update: after this story was published, the troubled spacecraft finally managed to dock with the ISS.

More on the launch: Boeing Spacecraft Springs More Leaks as It Sputters to the Space Station


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