Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft returns to Earth, wrapping up critical test mission

Starliner underneath its main parachutes ahead of landing | Image: NASA TV

After spending a little less than a week at the space station, Boeing’s new passenger spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, returned to Earth this afternoon, landing intact with the help of parachutes and airbags in the New Mexico desert. The successful touchdown brings an end to a crucial test flight for Starliner, one that showcased the vehicle’s ability to launch to space, dock with the station, and then return home safely.

Shaped like a gumdrop, Boeing’s Starliner capsule was built in partnership with NASA in order to launch the agency’s astronauts to and from the International Space Station, or ISS. The mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which challenged private companies with creating space taxis to carry people to low…

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Author: Loren Grush