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Boeing Starliner OFT-2 Return to Earth, Completing its test flight to International Space Station

The U.S. aviation/aerospace tech giant accomplished a successful unmanned test flight on its second attempt to the Orbiting Laboratory, setting the stage for future astronauts' missions

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft lands at White Sands Missile Range’s Space Harbor, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in New Mexico. Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. OFT-2 serves as an end-to-end test of the system's capabilities. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

May 26, 2022 A Boeing Co. (NASDAQ; BA) spacecraft landed in the desert on Wednesday after undocking from the International Space Station, marking the end of a test mission the company first tried to complete in 2019.

Starliner CST-100 spacecraft touched down in the White Sands Missile Range, a U.S. Army facility in New Mexico, at 6:49 p.m EDT (2249 UTC) on Wednesday, hitting the desert dirt just less than half a mile (0.5 km) from its preliminary landing point. The spacecraft left the ISS at 2:36 p.m EDT (1836 UTC). At 6:05 p.m (2205 GMT), the spacecraft made the 58-second de-orbit ignition, decreasing its speed by 459 km/h. The capsule separated from the service module a few minutes after the end of the burn and began plunging into Earth's atmosphere at 19:33 EDT (2233 GMT). Completing the return trip in 4hrs from ISS.

Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program (NASA)
Steve Stich, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, described the landing as "picture perfect" during Wednesday night's briefing, saying that the test flight accomplished all of its mission objectives. “Putting the vehicle through its paces on this flight is really the only way to prepare us for the crewed flight test,”

The spaceship, which wasn’t carrying crew members for the mission, autonomously docked with the space station's forward port on Friday night, about a day after a rocket blasted it into orbit from a launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Photo Credits: Sergey Korsakov (ISS), NASA (Bill Ingalls)

During the mission, the Starliner completed a ser