Starliner returned to Earth

The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft undocked from the ISS and returned to Earth. Its return capsule made a successful landing on the territory of the White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico.

Landing of the Starliner spacecraft capsule. Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The CST-100 Starliner was launched on May 19. During the launch of the spacecraft into orbit, there were some problems — 2 of the 12 engines were prematurely turned off. However, this did not prevent it from performing the necessary maneuver and docking with the ISS.

The spacecraft stayed in the orbital complex for five days, after which it undocked from the station and began returning to Earth. According to Boeing specialists, at this stage they tried to reactivate two faulty engines. As a result, “interesting signatures” were obtained, which should help narrow down the number of potential reasons for failure. The fact is that the problematic engines were in the service compartment, which separates from the spacecraft and burns up in the atmosphere, which makes it impossible to physically inspect them.

Anyway, the Starliner capsule successfully withstood re-entry into the atmosphere and made a successful landing at the harbor. Now Boeing can start preparing for the next mission, in which the spacecraft will deliver NASA astronauts to the ISS for the first time. This flight may take place as early as the end of 2022. The exact date of the launches will depend on the results of the study of the data collected during the Starliner test and the results of the investigation of problems with the spacecraft’s engines.

Earlier we talked about how Starliner delivered a character of the computer game Kerbal Space Program to the ISS.

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