The troubled aircraft maker on Friday encountered a new kind of PR disaster, this time with the highly anticipated launch of its Starliner spacecraft, which made it into space but did not make it into the orbit Boeing or NASA were aiming for.
At 6:36 am ET on Friday, an Atlas V rocket successfully vaulted the Boeing test spacecraft into orbit, with Boeing officials confirming about 15 minutes after launch that Starliner had detatched from the rocket as expected.
However, the spacecraft was then supposed to conduct an "orbital insertion burn," which would orient the spacecraft on the correct path toward NASA's space station.
That didn't happen.
Officials on the NASA webcast of the launch didn't immediately provide a reason, though did note that the spacecraft remained in a stable orbit and that flight controllers were evaluating their options for getting the spacecraft back on course.
In its own statement, Boeing added that the spacecraft "...is in a safe and stable configuration," and that "Boeing and NASA are working together to review options for the test and mission opportunities available while the Starliner remains in orbit."
The troubled test launch comes as more bad news for Boeing, which has suffered both delays and expense in trying to right the troubled 737 MAX jet and get it re-certified to fly.
The plane was grounded worldwide in March following two fatal crashes that killed a combined 346 people and prompted the longest flying ban for a U.S. airliner ever.