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Boeing's Starliner capsule makes launch debut, but hits snag

Posted at 7:01 AM, Dec 20, 2019

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Boeing's new Starliner capsule ran into trouble in orbit Friday minutes after blasting off on its first test flight, a crucial dress rehearsal for next year's inaugural launch with astronauts.

Everything went flawlessly as the Atlas V rocket soared with the Starliner just before sunrise. But a half-hour into the flight, Boeing reported that the capsule's insertion into orbit was not normal.

Officials said flight controllers were looking into all their options and stressed that the capsule was in a stable orbit, at least for now.

The Starliner was supposed to reach the International Space Station on Saturday, but that now appeared to be in jeopardy.

As the astronauts watched from nearby control centers, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the capsule blasted off just before sunrise from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The rocket was visible for at least five minutes, its white contrail a brilliant contrast against the dark sky. Thousands of spectators jammed the area, eager to witness Starliner's premiere flight.

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