Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has successfully returned to Earth. At 17:49, the unmanned CDT capsule landed at the US Army’s New Sands rocket range in New Mexico at the end of a six-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Today’s parachute landing is the third time for good luck for the Starliner program, which has been marked by delays, hardware failures and software problems that led to an emergency landing and a failed launch. Because these problems could affect the ship every step of its test flight, three were feeling tense until landing in the New Mexico desert.

Part of the certification, before it could transport crews from US land to the ISS, the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) took off from the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida on top of the United Launch Alliance’s (Atla V) Atlas V rocket. 6:55 pm EDT on May 19, 2022. A day later, the CST-100 Starliner autonomously met and moored with the space laboratory and the station crew opened the hatch.

According to Boeing, Starliner’s flight not only demonstrates the company’s ability to complete a mission from launch to recovery, but also tests the spacecraft’s avionics system, docking system, communications and telemetry systems, environmental control systems, solar grilles. electrical energy systems and propulsion systems. The capsule autonomously maintained its position before docking and responded to commands from the station. In addition, he demonstrated the ability to charge his batteries using his solar panels, transfer digital files and establish joint ventilation with the ISS.

The next flight is scheduled to carry a crew.

“We had an excellent flight test of a complex system that we expected to learn along the way, and we did,” said Mark Napie, vice president and program manager, Boeing’s sales crew program. “Thanks to NASA and Boeing teammates who put so much of themselves into Starliner.

“With the completion of OFT-2, we will incorporate the lessons learned and continue to work to prepare for the NASA flight test and certification.

The video below reproduces the live coverage of Starliner’s return.

Starliner Return

Source: Boeing

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