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NASA is conducting a new experiment with the cursed spacecraft

NASA is conducting a new experiment with the cursed spacecraft

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft has been cursed in many ways: The craft was initially completed late due to all sorts of production issues, then the launches had to be canceled on Sunday and in May, before finally launching on a third attempt on Wednesday. First the launch vehicle malfunctioned, and last week there was a computer problem. These problems have cost NASA $1.5 billion so far, and the total cost of the project has already exceeded $5 billion.

It was then unable to join the International Space Station on Thursday because the first attempt was canceled due to a problem with the spacecraft's engine.

The Starliner has 28 jets, called Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters, that allow the spacecraft to make small movements in orbit. So far, NASA has been able to recover four out of five planes that crashed. The second docking attempt is scheduled for 1:33 PM ET after NASA has cleared the Starliner approach with 27 operational engines.

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sonny Williams worked with NASA flight controllers to test run the engines in an effort to get the spacecraft's entire propulsion system working again.

This mission is the last big step before NASA allows Boeing to use the capsule for operational missions with crews. However, various setbacks and delays have continually pushed the Starliner vehicle into a backup position for NASA, where the agency plans to have Boeing and SpaceX take turns flying it on missions.

Cover image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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