Did you see it? A mysterious streak of light and gas was seen over metro Atlanta Friday morning.
Turns out, it was actually a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral intended for the International Space Station.
But about 30 minutes after liftoff, experts say a serious timing error occurred that will force the spacecraft to return to Earth in the next 48 hours. It will never dock with the International Space Station.
“When the spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle, we did not get the orbital insertion burn that we were hoping for,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.
The Starliner capsule launched by Boeing was carrying about 600 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the station, according to WFTV. There were no humans inside.
Boeing is working toward flying astronauts to the station for NASA as part of the commercial crew program.
Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Katie Walls said the capsule launched at 6:36 a.m.
Scientists are in full control of the spacecraft. NASA experts believe that had there been a crew on board, they could have overwritten any automation error.
Experts said bringing the spacecraft safely back to the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico will allow the engineering team to fully assess what happened.
“Without knowing exactly what was going on, the team quite rightly said, ‘Let me put the spacecraft in an orbit that I know I can control and get home and give the engineering team time to thoroughly figure out what’s going on,’” Bridenstine said.
Shortly after the launch, many in the metro area flooded our WSB-TV social media inboxes with photos:
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