Earthbound Boeing Starliner faces final challenge in key test mission

Boeing and NASA groups take part in a mission costume rehearsal to arrange for the touchdown of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in White Sands, New Mexico

Boeing’s Starliner capsule headed again to Earth Wednesday within the ultimate step of a key check flight to show itself worthy of offering rides for NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The spaceship autonomously undocked at 2:36 pm Eastern time (1836 GMT) and was set to the touch down within the New Mexico desert simply over 4 hours later, at 2249 GMT, wrapping up a six-day mission essential to restoring Boeing’s repute after previous failures.

Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is the final hurdle for Starliner to clear earlier than it carries people in one other check flight that would happen by the top of this yr.

Starliner docked with the ISS on Friday, a day after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft will deliver again greater than 600 kilos (270 kilograms) of cargo, together with reusable tanks that present breathable air to station crew members, which will probably be refurbished and brought again up on a future flight.

Having shed most of its velocity, it’s going to deploy a sequence of parachutes till, at 3,000 toes, it jettisons its base warmth defend — revealing touchdown airbags that may inflate to help a delicate touchdown.

Two thrusters liable for putting Starliner in a steady orbit failed, although officers insisted there was loads of redundancy constructed into the system to beat the issue.

– Second taxi service –

The second error was caught in time to add a patch, and the vessel was capable of obtain a delicate touchdown, slowed by its huge parachutes, at White Sands Space Harbor — the identical spaceport the place the house shuttle Columbia as soon as landed, and the place Starliner is as soon as extra anticipated for landing.

NASA is seeking to certify Starliner as a second “taxi” service for its astronauts to the house station — a task that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has supplied since succeeding in a check mission for its Dragon capsule in 2020.


Originally revealed as Earthbound Boeing Starliner faces ultimate problem in key check mission

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