Boeing Starliner Capsule Returns to Earth

Boeing’s new passenger spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, returned to Earth after spending a week at the International Space Station (ISS).

The Starliner spacecraft entered Earth’s atmosphere on Wednesday night and landed on the White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico with the assistance of parachutes and airbags.

“The OFT-2 mission represents the power of collaboration, which allows us to innovate for the benefit of humanity and inspire the world through discovery. This golden era of spaceflight wouldn’t be possible without the thousands of individuals who persevered and poured their passion into this great achievement,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The new test voyage brought the Starliner one step closer to providing NASA with a second viable route for ferrying humans to and from the space station, which has been plagued by delays and costly engineering failures.

Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test-2 or OFT-2 was a repeat of the same test flight that Boeing attempted in 2019 which failed to dock the ISS due to a software glitch on board.

NASA and Boeing will investigate the issues on the OFT-2 mission to see if the Starliner is ready to carry humans to space on a test flight called CFT, which could take place by the end of the year.

“Throughout this process, Starliner has provided a tremendous amount of valuable data, which we’re continuing to assess in our effort to bring the spacecraft online and fully operational for crew flights to the space station as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Steve Stich, Manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

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