Boeing Starliner capsule begins trip back to Earth with hatch closing

Starliner arrived at the ISS on May 20

This image from NASA TV shows the Boeing Starliner preparing to dock at the International Space Station, Friday, May 20, 2022. Boeing's astronaut capsule has arrived at the International Space Station in a critical repeat test flight. Only a test dummy was aboard the capsule for Friday's docking, a huge achievement for Boeing after years of false starts. (NASA via AP) (Uncredited)

After a few days at the International Space Station, astronauts will close the hatch on the Starliner capsule as the spacecraft starts its return trip to Earth.

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There was a farewell ceremony and an official hatch closing.

The Boeing Starliner capsule lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on May 19 and arrived at the ISS on May 20, the first time the capsule made it to the station.

Starliner will autonomously undock from the ISS to return home on Wednesday at 2:36 p.m. NASA and Boeing are targeting a 6:49 p.m. landing at White Sands Space Harbour in New Mexico, with a backup opportunity to land planned for Friday.

If the capsule returns home successfully and provided there are no other issues, the next step would be another Starliner mission, this time with astronauts on board.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.