Boeing’s Starliner safely returns to Earth after second check flight

Boeing’s Starliner has returned to Earth safely after docking with the Worldwide House Station for the primary time. The six-day Boeing Orbital Flight Check-2 mission got here to an finish when the spacecraft landed on the US Military’s White Sands Missile Vary in Recent Mexico. It is the primary American capsule to the touch down on land as a substitute of within the ocean. Starliner undocked from the ISS at 2:36PM ET and by 6:05PM, it was firing its thrusters to drop out of orbit. 

The uncrewed Starliner, which took over 800 kilos of apparatus to the ISS (together with a Kerbal House Program plush toy), introduced again over 600 kilos of cargo. Among the many returned gadgets have been reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System tanks, that are used to offer air to these on the ISS. They will be refilled and brought again to the house station later.

The spacecraft’s first check flight occurred in 2019. Whereas it reached orbit, an automation system concern prevented thrusters from firing, which means Starliner was unable to dock with the ISS. An try at a second check flight final yr was scrapped due to a propulsion system valve drawback, which led to a nine-month delay. Within the interim, SpaceX carried out extra crewed journeys to the ISS than beforehand deliberate. 

After assessing the info from this flight, Boeing will have the opportunity to begin planning crewed flights that may take astronauts to the house station and produce them again to Earth. The Recent York Occasions says NASA will announce the astronauts who’ll be flying on Starliner this summer season, and the mission might happen earlier than the yr ends. 

Mark Nappi, vp and program supervisor, Boeing Industrial Crew Program, stated:

“We’ve got had a wonderful flight check of a fancy system that we anticipated to be taught from alongside the way in which and now we have With the completion of OFT-2, we are going to incorporate classes realized and proceed working to organize for the crewed flight check and NASA certification. Thanks to the NASA and Boeing teammates who’ve put a lot of themselves into Starliner.”

Mariella Moon contributed to this story.

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