‘This is why we test’: NASA, Boeing on Starliner launch

NASA and Boeing will review flight data to learn what caused the mission elapsed time to be incorrect.
5:27 | 12/20/19

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Transcript for ‘This is why we test’: NASA, Boeing on Starliner launch
I want to start by just making sure everybody knows that today a lot of things went right. And this is in fact why we tests just a few minutes ago I got off the phone with the vice president I gave him a briefing on where we are. I'm he maintains. That he is very positive. As the chairman of the National Space Council in our ability. To once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. So we did have obviously some challenges today. When the when the spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle. We did not get the orbital insertion burn that we were hoping for. It appears as though the mission elapsed timing system. An error and it and that anomaly resulted in the vehicle believing that the time was different than actually was. And because that timing was a little bit off. What ended up happening is the be the spacecraft try to maintain a very precise. Control that it normally wouldn't have. Tried to maintain. And it burned a lot of a lot of prop in that in that part of the the flight. And when that prop got burnt looked like we weren't going to be able to Tenet to go ahead and and rendezvous with the International Space Station. By the time we were able to get signals that two tie actually command it to do the orbital insertion burn. It was a bit too late in the reason it was too late is because it appears. And remember all of this is very early in preliminary and we're learning things moment by moment. But it appears as though. We were between a T dress communication satellites which meant we couldn't get the command signal to to tell the rocket to tell the spacecraft that it needed do. The orbital insertion burn soon enough. Couple of things that are important to note now I'd be very clear about this. We as an agency and our partners at Boeing and you LA have committed. That win there is something that isn't a challenge. We will be very clear and transparent about it and we will share information as early as possible and we have done that we will continue doing. It is important for us to build trusts. With the American taxpayer so that we can continue to do these magnificent things. But know this a lot of things today did in fact go right. I would also attest that it could very well be. The heavily technical man in the spacecraft. Remember what that the challenge here this anomaly has to do with automation. And the Cole and Mike are trained specifically. To deal with that the situation that happened today with the automation was not working according to plan. And if if if we would had proven their number one they would have been safe to be very clear our crew would have been safe. And in fact that they've been in there we very well may be orbit in early we may be docking with the Internap. Shall space station tomorrow at they've been in the spacecraft. So a lot of things went right today I wanna be really clear. A lot of things went right and this is why we test and because we are now in orbit and in fact elevating our orbit we're gonna get a lot more data in a lot more information. In the coming days I'm so this is all this is all very positive in and injecting it in general I would also say. That we we we you know that the sent our upper stage with two RL ten engines demonstrated very successful. Flights that you know. Something it had not done sense. 2004. Which is this Antar with two RO ten engines. And so a lot of a lot of I wouldn't necessarily say that that was a first but a lot of first that happened today that were very good. And we're gonna continue to learn from from what's from from this past play. We astronauts. Including Chris Ferguson. And Nicole manner myself on the on the next crew. We were watching from the Lou we divided and conquered we had some of us that were at the at the atlas space operations center they suck we had some of us that we're at that Boeing mission control center. And we we saw great launch. We watched the alive burn as it played out and we've. Kind of imagined ourselves as if we were on board in fact I even have my flight checklist that we've been a developing rate right in front need to watch what was going on and we star liner has there ever a robust Manuel capability and Kris Ferguson the coal man and myself we'd like to think that. It's minister saying it had we been on board. We could've given. The flight control team a more options on on what to do in the situation. We trained extensively for this type of contingency. And had we ban on board their their could've been actions that we could've taken and we will. Continue to develop those actions. And that road best Manuel capability is is something that's required this vehicle is a new level of automation that we've never seen before. And so what religions were testing that automation and that's why you have test pilots on board. Especially for these early missions that's our job that's were over trained to do. We are looking forward to flying on star liner. And we don't have any safety concerns. Everything on ascent all of this systems that would keep us safe. Have functioned properly on the launch and currently on the vehicle we're looking forward to ought to test data American for a two landing at white sands.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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