NASA has spent $7 billion on a program to launch humans from the U.S. and end reliance on Russians to get to the International Space Station, but an important test for Boeing hit a snag.

The Starliner is hoping to compete with SpaceX, which already had a successful docking earlier this year.

NASA wants to outsource more of this kind of thing but the program is two years behind schedule, which along with chronics overruns and delays on programs like the James Webb Space Telescope has led to renewed concerns that NASA is no longer equipped to do big programs and should stick to smaller experiments like cute robots on Mars, while outsourcing advanced technology to contractors, the way they did in the 1960s.

Credit: NASA

Starliner is part of that, but given their recent high-profile failures there is concern that Boeing is a 1980s-style government contractor rather than a 1960s one. NASA is instead blaming 'not enough funding' and continuing resolutions, as if they get lunch money from the government each week.

It's more worrisome that nearly 60 years after we were able to orbit humans and make corrections using radar(!) a group NASA chose to give its money to suffered an “anomaly” and got into the wrong orbit.