Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft Returns to Earth
Boeing and NASA have successfully completed the first Starliner Space Station flight test. The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft returned to the earth yesterday, landing at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 5:49 p.m. Central Time.
After spending 6 days in International Space Station (ISS) on a test mission, the autonomous uncrewed Boeing Starliner spacecraft undocked from the Space Station at 2:36pm ET (18:36 UTC) on Wednesday, May 25.
The safe return to Earth brings a close to the successful end-to-end uncrewed orbital flight test that was flown to demonstrate the quality and performance of the transportation system prior to crewed flights.
The flight test began on May 19 with a launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Capabilities the Starliner demonstrated included:
• End-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft through launch, ascent, on-orbit, re-entry and landing;
• Starliner’s autonomous software and the on-orbit operation of its avionics system, docking system, communications/telemetry systems, environmental control systems, solar arrays, electrical power systems, and propulsion systems;
• Ability to hold docking attitude, receive commands from the space station crew, and command holds and retreats during final station approach;
• Battery charging, hatch open and close, establishing joint ventilation with the station, file transfer and cargo transfer.
When Starliner completes its next flight, Boeing will have fulfilled NASA’s goal of having two commercial vehicles to transport astronauts safely, reliably and sustainably to the station from American soil.