ABC11 photographer Rob Judson was at the Boylan Avenue bridge to capture the flight over the Raleigh skyline around 6:40 a.m. The booster rocket visibly shut off, creating a neat-looking wave effect as it separated from the crew capsule.
Unfortunately, the Starliner capsule went off course after launch and didn't dock with the International Space Station.
SEE ALSO | Starliner crew capsule launches on 1st space flight, bringing Christmas treats to astronauts
Thirty minutes into the flight, Boeing reported that the capsule didn't get into the right orbit and burned too much fuel to safely reach the space station. NASA said the capsule will land in New Mexico as early as Sunday.
Starliner in stable orbit. The burn needed for a rendezvous with the ISS did not happen. Working the issue.— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) December 20, 2019
The Starliner was carrying Christmas treats and presents for the six space station residents, including hundreds of tree seeds similar to those that flew to the moon on Apollo 14. The Starliner's mission was to rendezvous with the ISS on its first test flight.
The Starliner was supposed to reach the space station and stay for a week. The United Launch Alliance rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and was visible for at least five minutes, its white contrail a brilliant contrast against the dark sky.