Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will complete its landmark test flight to the International Space Station for NASA by landing in New Mexico on the evening of May 25, if all goes according to plan. Starliner arrived at the ISS on May 20, the day after launch as part of Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2), an unmanned mission designed to demonstrate that the capsule is ready to begin delivering astronauts into space for NASA.
Boeing and NASA said the Starliner will remain docked with the orbiting laboratory for four to five days. The capsule is scheduled to undock from the ISS on Wednesday at 02:36 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (08:36 p.m. Kyiv time) and land at the US Army White Sands missile range in New Mexico in five hours (00:49 a.m. Kyiv time on May 26).
If bad weather or other factors make Wednesday’s return untenable, the return will be rescheduled for May 27 with a landing at White Sands Space Harbor, a spaceport that once served as a runway for NASA’s space shuttle program. Previously, the Starliner had already landed at the White Sands Space Harbor in December 2019, completing the initial Boeing OFT mission. On that flight, the Starliner had a number of failures, and it could not meet with the ISS.
The successful completion of the OFT-2 mission is the last major obstacle that the Starliner must overcome before astronauts can board it. If the landing goes according to plan, and post-flight checks do not reveal any serious problems that need to be ironed out, the capsule may soon deliver the crew — perhaps even this year, representatives of Boeing and NASA said.
Earlier, Starliner delivered a surprise to the ISS – the character of the computer game Kerbal Space Program.
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