Starliner’s Return Delayed Yet Again: What Lies Ahead for the Spacecraft?

Boeing Starliner Spacecraft Docked to International Space Station

The Starliner spacecraft on NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward port as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Credit: NASA

Starliner’s undocking from the ISS is set for June 25, leading to a historic landing at White Sands Space Harbor. The mission teams are analyzing flight test data, and a recent teleconference shared insights into the upcoming landing, which will be the first crewed American capsule landing on land.

Last week, NASA delayed the return of the Starliner spacecraft from the International Space Station (ISS) until June 22. Now, teams from NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than 10:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, for the undocking of the Starliner spacecraft. For the primary undocking opportunity, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, the first crew to fly aboard Starliner, would land about 4:51 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico.

Mission teams supporting NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test continue to review Starliner’s data from the completed test objectives.

NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams

NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts (from top) Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams pose for a portrait inside the vestibule between the forward port on the International Space Station’s Harmony module and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. Credit: NASA

During a media teleconference on Tuesday, Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, discussed the flight test and upcoming return plans. Stich was joined by Dana Weigel, manager of NASA’s International Space Station Program; Mike Lammers, flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston; and Mark Nappi, vice president and manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. Listen to a full replay of the teleconference below.

Following undocking and the deorbit burn, Starliner will descend under parachutes to land in the desert grounds of White Sands. Airbags attached to the bottom of Starliner will soften the spacecraft’s touchdown. The landing will mark the first time an American capsule has touched down on land with astronauts aboard. A team of NASA and Boeing specialists will retrieve the crew soon after landing.

Wilmore and Williams docked the Starliner spacecraft to the space station’s forward port on June 6 and have been testing spacecraft systems and performing tasks aboard the orbiting laboratory.

2 Comments on "Starliner’s Return Delayed Yet Again: What Lies Ahead for the Spacecraft?"

  1. Daniel Cooley | June 19, 2024 at 2:56 pm | Reply

    Historic landing? Not yet.

  2. They might be talking to Rick Husband soon.

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