Boeing Starliner capsule undocks, heads back to Earth after successful test flight

Capsule to land at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico

Starliner docks at International Space Station

Boeing’s Starliner capsule is returning to Earth after successfully reaching the International Space Station for the first time last week.

Starliner undocked from the space station Wednesday at 2:36 p.m. and landed at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m., according to NASA.

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The capsule launched without a crew Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for its second-ever orbital test flight.

Starliner docked at the space station around 8:28 p.m. Friday and stayed for a few days. While the capsule was docked at the International Space Station, astronauts aboard the space station reviewed the capsule’s systems and rendezvous procedures.

OFT-2 was scrubbed during a launch attempt in August 2021 and was later delayed that October as officials were still investigating the first hold-up, in which moisture reportedly leaked into Starliner’s service module. In 2019, a malfunction during the capsule’s first flight test caused it to return to Earth 48 hours after launching, as a maneuver critical to getting Starliner to the ISS was missed shortly after takeoff.

Since the test flight was successful, NASA and Boeing will then plan a Crew Flight Test, Starliner’s first mission with astronauts on board.

A post-landing conference was held at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday evening to celebrate the successful landing.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.