Boeing’s Starliner capsule returns after no-crew test flight to space station | CBC News

Boeing’s crew taxi returned to Earth from the Worldwide Area Station on Wednesday, finishing a repeat take a look at flight earlier than NASA astronauts climb aboard.

It was a fast journey again: the Starliner capsule parachuted into the New Mexico desert simply 4 hours after leaving the orbiting lab, with airbags connected to cushion the touchdown. Solely a model was buckled in.

Except for thruster failures and cooling system snags, Starliner appeared to clinch its high-stakes shakedown cruise, 2½ years after its botched first try. Flight controllers in Houston applauded and cheered the bull’s-eye landing.

NASA astronauts will strap in subsequent for a visit to the house station. The house company has lengthy needed two competing U.S. firms ferrying astronauts, giving it added insurance coverage because it drastically lowered its reliance on Russia for rides to and from the house station.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is already the established chief, launching astronauts since 2020 and even vacationers. Its crew capsules splash down off the Florida coast; Boeing’s Starliner returns to the U.S. Military’s expansive White Sands Missile Vary in New Mexico.

This picture from NASA TV reveals the Boeing Starliner approaching the Worldwide Area Station final Friday. (NASA/The Related Press)

Boeing scrapped its first try to succeed in the house station in 2019, after software program errors left the capsule within the improper orbit and practically doomed it. The corporate fastened the issues and tried once more final summer time, however corroded valves halted the countdown. Following extra repairs, Starliner lastly lifted off from Cape Canaveral final Thursday and docked to the house station Friday.

Station astronauts examined Starliner’s communication and laptop methods throughout its 5 days on the house station. Additionally they unloaded a whole lot of kilograms of groceries and different provides that flew up within the Boeing capsule, then crammed it with empty air tanks and different discarded gear.

A folded U.S. flag despatched up by Boeing stayed behind, to be retrieved by the primary Starliner crew.

“We’re a bit unhappy to see her go,” station astronaut Bob Hines radioed because the capsule flew away.

Alongside for the experience was Starliner’s take a look at dummy — Rosie the Rocketeer, a takeoff on the Second World Struggle’s Rosie the Riveter.

The repairs and do-over value Boeing practically $600 million US.

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