Boeing's Starliner spacecraft encounters issues on its approach to space station

Two NASA astronauts aboard Boeing’s Starliner capsule arrived at the International Space Station Thursday, successfully docking with the orbiting outpost despite issues with the spacecraft’s thrusters.

NASA confirmed that the spacecraft and its crew, astronauts Butch Wilmore and Sunita Williams, docked with the space station at 1:34 p.m. ET.

An earlier attempt planned for 12:15 p.m. ET was called off after problems were discovered with five of the 28 thrusters on the lower portion of the Starliner capsule.

Flight controllers continue to monitor issues with the capsule’s reaction control thrusters, which are used to make fine-tune changes to the spacecraft’s trajectory, such as when it closes in on the space station. Various tests were able to recover all but one thruster, and mission managers gave the go-ahead to proceed with docking.

The Starliner capsule is designed to dock autonomously with the space station, but Wilmore and Williams can take manual control if needed.

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is more than 24 hours into its long-awaited inaugural crewed test flight to the space station. The capsule lifted off atop an Atlas V rocket Wednesday from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The test flight is designed to demonstrate that the capsule can safely ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. If successful, NASA could authorize Boeing to conduct regular flights to the space station for the agency.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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