Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft which successfully launched last week, and returned to Earth on Sunday. It landed in the New Mexico desert earlier than expected.
The unmanned craft was expected to stay in orbit and meet up with the International Space Station over a week but this was cut short by six days after a clock error made the meet-up impossible.
The Boeing Starliner has successfully returned from orbit and landed at its target landing site in White Sands, New Mexico. The capsule touched down at 3:58 P.M. Doha time, right on time for the mission’s planned schedule as detailed at a news conference on Saturday.
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According to Boeing, the mission clock thought the spacecraft was already at a different, later phase of the flight. Despite re-setting the clock, the spacecraft had to come in to land as it had already used too much propellant.
“We had some challenges, but a lot of things did in fact go right,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a media briefing.
“We did not make it to the International Space Station. We did not dock, but the spacecraft flew exceptionally well. We’ve got a lot of data to review.”
NASA have hailed the landing a success with a streamlined re-entry, with the Starliner in great condition with a few refurbishments needed before the next test.
This was intended to be the last unmanned mission before sending astronauts up in the U.S built spacecraft in early 2020.
NASA have still not decided whether they will do a second uncrewed test or continue to send a crew in the next Starliner launch.