The Starliner astronaut capsule from the aerospace company Boeing landed in the desert of the American state of New Mexico on Sunday at 7.58 am local time. The capsule was launched on Friday, but shortly after launch, problems arose and it was decided to reclaim the unmanned flight.
The capsule was en route to the international space station ISS to supply the astronauts there. The launch was successful, but after half an hour it turned out that the Starliner was not in the right orbit due to a timer error. Employees at the Boeing control center tried to solve the problems, but came to the conclusion that it would no longer be possible to reach ISS.
Although the original mission had to be canceled, the Boeing team was happy that the landing was successful. The Starliner entered the atmosphere at a speed 25 times faster than the sound, creating enormous heat around the capsule. The three parachutes of the capsule were only opened 1600 meters from the earth, after which the landing was "a bull's eye", said a spokesperson for Boeing during the live stream of the landing.
#Starliner has landed safely, preparing recovery teams to deploy.Avatar
Boeing competes with SpaceX for NASA contracts
Boeing Starliner is a direct competitor of the Crew Dragon capsule from SpaceX and is part of the Commercial Crew program of the American space organization NASA.
With this program, NASA grants contracts for passenger and cargo transport to and from the international space station ISS. NASA currently has to buy seats with Russian Soyuz capsules because the United States does not have the resources for manned space missions.
With Commercial Crew, NASA wants to encourage commercial parties to make human transportation to and from space possible, so that the United States can bring Americans back into space.
The Crew Dragon from SpaceX performed a successful test flight in March and is expected to make its first manned flight in early 2020. This should have happened before, but the capsule exploded during an emergency system test.
70SpaceX tests new capsule for manned space travel