Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will wrap up its landmark check flight to the Worldwide Area Station for NASA this week with a landing in New Mexico on Wednesday night (Might 25), if all goes in line with plan.
Starliner arrived on the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) on Friday (Might 20), a day after launching on Orbital Flight Check 2 (OFT-2), an uncrewed shakeout mission designed to indicate that the capsule is able to begin carrying astronauts to and from the station for NASA.
Boeing and NASA had mentioned that Starliner will keep docked with the orbiting lab for 4 to 5 days. This afternoon (Might 23), we bought some agency departure data: The capsule is scheduled to depart the ISS Wednesday at 2:36 p.m. EDT (1836 GMT), with a touchdown occurring on the U.S. Military’s White Sands Missile Vary in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m. EDT (2249 GMT) that very same day.
Dwell updates: Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Check 2 mission to ISS
Associated: Boeing’s Starliner OFT-2 check flight for NASA in superb photographs
You’ll be able to watch all of this motion dwell at Area.com when the time comes, courtesy of NASA.
The OFT-2 workforce is focusing on a landing at White Sands Area Harbor, a spaceport that when served as a runway for NASA’s house shuttle program, amongst different makes use of. A backup touchdown alternative is out there at White Sands on Friday (Might 27) if dangerous climate or different elements make a Wednesday return untenable, NASA officers mentioned in an replace this afternoon.
Starliner has come down at White Sands Area Harbor as soon as earlier than, in December 2019, a touchdown that wrapped up Boeing’s authentic OFT mission. Starliner suffered a collection of glitches on that flight and was unable to fulfill up with the ISS, requiring the capsule to fly OFT-2 as a make-up flight.
OFT-2 is the final main hurdle that Starliner should clear earlier than astronauts can climb aboard. If all goes properly with the departure and touchdown, and post-flight checks do not reveal any severe points to iron out, the capsule may find yourself flying crews quickly — maybe earlier than the top of the yr, Boeing and NASA officers have mentioned.
Boeing is not the one firm NASA has tapped to fly its astronauts to and from orbit. SpaceX holds an analogous contract and is already up and operating with its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, having launched 4 operational crewed missions to the ISS to this point.
NASA and Boeing had recognized 5 potential touchdown websites for Starliner on OFT-2, two of them throughout the White Sands Missile Vary. The others have been Willcox Playa in southeastern Arizona, the Dugway Proving Floor in Utah and Edwards Air Power Base in California.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook concerning the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Fb.