Boeing starliner has returned to earth safely on Sunday with airbags and parachutes, although the orbital flight test did not go as per NASA’s expectations. Starliner landed safely in New Mexico. It is one of the spacecraft to take an astronaut to the International Space Station. Due to the glitch in the timing, the spacecraft was not able to reach the planned orbit. Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, said that the landing was absolutely bullseye, during his press conference on Sunday.
This is for the first time a capsule has been brought back safely to the US land. The landing took before 5 AM with its trio of parachutes carrying it safely back to the Earth. The landing was as scheduled; however, the journey of the starliner in space is a different story. The flight was scheduled to return to Earth on 28 December. The error in timing disturbed the schedule and it came back to Earth early, even though NASA celebrated this mission as a success. Jim Morhard, the Deputy Administrator of NASA, said that the mission had strengthened the resolve of Boeing, NASA, and the ULA team. The toughest part of the mission was a great success. Boeing will refurbish the spacecraft, making it ready for astronauts for their first flight.
NASA awarded Boeing $4 Billion contract in 2014. It is yet to be determined if the starliner can perform the most difficult task with physically docking 250 miles above the Earth and travels 7.66 Km per second. Within the next couple of months, Boeing and SpaceX would be launching crewed missions using Starliner and Crew Dragon respectively. It is unclear whether NASA will plan for a next orbital mission and test successful docking before going out for the crewed mission to avoid orbital troubles. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX tweeted that orbit is hard, though NASA and Boeing are pleased with the mission objectives. The risk of taking people in spacecraft will loom over its next starliners’ mission.