During the December test, a series of software problems and a problem with the spacecraft’s automated timer prevented Starliner from docking with the space station and returning to Earth a week earlier.
In February, a NASA safety review committee found that Boeing had narrowly missed a “catastrophic failure” in the botched test and recommended reviewing the company’s software verification process before leaving it fly humans into space.
NASA officials refrained from ordering a reinstatement because they “didn’t think it would be enough” to address all of the concerns raised during the safety review, an official with Reuters said. agency, adding that NASA would make additional recommendations.
Boeing and Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX are separately building space taxis to transport astronauts to the space station as part of NASA’s efforts to relaunch its human space flight program.
“Taking another unmanned flight will allow us to meet all of the flight test objectives and assess the performance of the second Starliner vehicle at no cost to the taxpayer,” the company said in a statement. (Report by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru and Joey Roulette in Washington; edited by Shinjini Ganguli and Peter Cooney)