Rival Boeing released live footage of the Starliner on its official YouTube channel today as the world’s media awaited SpaceX Dragon’s next explosion test. As part of the Commercial Crew mission, NASA is eager to send American astronauts back to the International Space Station, with Boeing and SpaceX taking on the task.
Last month, the Starliner was developed by Boeing and NASA’s commercial manned space program team. The test flight is the first unmanned test flight of the Starliner, originally scheduled to dock with the International Space Station on the 21st. According to the original plan, if the test flight is successful, then the capsule will return to the United States on the 28th. However, due to the mission failure, the capsule returned six days early.
Despite the troubles on the road, Starliner’s landing was perfect. The capsule deorbited at around 7:23 a.m. EST on December 22 and crashed into the Earth’s atmosphere to reach the ground below. After surviving at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the vehicle then released three main parachutes to land it at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Starliner also managed to inflate the airbags to cushion its landing when it landed at the site just before 8 a.m. EST on the 22nd.
Proving this landing capability is significant for Starliner’s short but critical journey, as it shows that the spacecraft can safely return from space. This is the key moment when Starliner one day carries people. Boeing has developed Starliner as part of NASA’s commercial crew program, which aims to use privately manufactured vehicles to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Starliner’s first mission was to complete all of its missions in space before the live astronauts could travel to the space station.