NASA on February 7 said that numerous software issues and a poor radio link ruined a test flight of aircraft manufacturer Boeing's crew capsule in 2019. According to reports, NASA's admission revealed for the first time that a technical glitch could have destroyed the spaceship on its re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. The mission that was conducted on December 20, 2019, ended soon as the spaceship's thrusters failed to kick in on time.
According to reports. One issue was the space-ground-communications, hampering the flight control's team to operate and control the vehicle. Another issue that was confirmed by both Boeing and NASA stated that a coding error in the concerned program surrounding the vehicle's re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
Vice President of Boeing's Space and Launch division, Jim Chilton said that the error could have caused the service module (contained the support system) to be pushed towards the crew module instead of detaching prior to the vehicle's re-entry. He further added that the above-mentioned error could have resulted in an impact, destabilising the vehicle or damaging its heat shield.
Boeing along with SpaceX was provided with $4.2 billion and $2.5 billion in 2014 respectively to develop separate capsule systems capable of ferrying astronauts to the space station from American soil for the first time since the US Space Shuttle was retired from service in 2011. The NASA had initially expected its first crewed flights on Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule in late 2017. Yet a slew of design and safety concerns for both vehicles have led to schedule delays.
Both the companies are now scheduled to launch into space by the mid-2020. The starliner was supposed to stay at least a week at the International Space Station before undocking and beginning its return to Earth early on December 28.