The Starliner spacecraft, from the Boeing company, landed successfully this Sunday in New Mexico after it failed on Friday in its test mission to join the International Space Station (ISS).
The new ship of the US aeronautical group Boeing, which is going through an unprecedented crisis due to the problems of its controversial 737 MAX model, made landfall at 07:58 AM on the US East Coast (12:58 GMT) in White Sands, in The desert of New Mexico.
In this way, the CST-100 Starliner became the first American ship capable of transporting humans that lands on land and does not land, as was usual until now, NASA said.
He arrived on Earth in “good condition” after completing 33 orbits around the planet in an important step for the New Mexico desert to become the “scene of future manned landings.”
Jim Bridenstine, a NASA administrator who followed the operation from the control center in Houston (Texas), noted that teamwork “through challenges and successes.”
The challenges that Bridenstine seems to mention are the problems that arose last Friday, when the ship, which was aboard a rocket carrier Atlas V of the United Launch Alliance (ULA), separated from it, deviated from the course expected due to technical problems and did not reach the desired orbit.
This meant that this first Starliner test flight to take astronauts to the ISS had to give up its mission and think about how to return to Earth in a “safe” way.
Although Starliner did not arrive at the space station as planned, Boeing was able to complete a series of tests, reached a stable orbit and retained enough fuel for multiple landing opportunities, NASA explained.
The experts from the US space agency said that once the Starliner hatch is opened, the teams report that the capsule is in good condition.
Since 2011, when the United States put an end to its ferry program, the relay of the ISS crews is carried out exclusively with Russian Soyuz ships.
In principle, the start of these manned flights to and from the ISS in both the Boeing ship and the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the company of Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, which is also in the program with NASA, is scheduled by 2020.
The initial plan was for the CST-100 Starliner to arrive at the ISS this weekend and return on December 28, but due to the problems that arose after takeoff from Cape Canaveral, its landing had to be advanced to this Sunday.
The setback arisen in the first test flight of the Starliner puts pressure on this aeronautical company, plunged into a crisis by the problems of its 737 MAX aircraft model.