The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Boeing Co. postponed the launch of the company’s Starliner space capsule after a Russian vehicle forced the International Space Station into an unexpected slant.
The Starliner’s launch had been scheduled for Friday afternoon from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Boeing had spent months preparing for the flight after a December 2019 attempt to send the capsule to dock with the space station failed when a software error sent it to the wrong orbit, among other issues.
“We want to ensure that the space station is in a stable configuration, and ready for Starliner to arrive,” said Steve Stich, program manager for NASA’s commercial crew program, which is overseeing the Starliner effort. The Boeing capsule could be launched on Aug. 3, he said.
Boeing said the company is ready for the Starliner launch “when the time is right.”
Officials decided to put off launching the Boeing vehicle after a flight-control team noticed at 12:45 p.m. ET on Thursday that the Russian spacecraft, called the Nauka, had inadvertently fired its thrusters while it was docked to the space station, causing the space station to veer out of its expected orientation in space.