Main Engine Cut Off

Thoughts on Starliner

It’s been a hell of a last day or two for NASA and Boeing. A handful of thoughts I’ve had since launch:

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.

This could have been a hell of a lot worse. As Marco Langbroek worked out, without any burn happening, Starliner would have ended up in the spacecraft cemetery. That would have meant no more flight test, and no more hardware to learn from and reuse later.

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.

SpaceX has made some bad errors in their past, but this is the second error Boeing has made in just a few weeks that even to non-technical, non-space types looks downright stupid. You didn’t attach the parachute? You didn’t set the clock correctly? Whether there’s more to it or not—and there certainly is—those narratives play horribly in the outside world.

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.

The fact that docking is not a mission requirement for Commercial Crew demo flights is outrageous.

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.

It looks like Roscosmos is going to sell NASA two more Soyuz seats, and they’re certainly going to need them. Also, NASA always lies about how it’s too late to buy Soyuz seats.

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.

The pressure is on for SpaceX and their upcoming flights—the in-flight abort on January 11, and DM-2 after that. More than just capturing the flag, SpaceX will capture a ton of political firepower if they can fly a mission or two before Starliner gets up to the ISS with people aboard.

No one is more excited for 2019 to be over than Boeing.