NASA and Boeing CST-100 Starliner landed in New Mexico on Wednesday.
The landing marked the completion of the unmanned orbital flight test of the spacecraft 2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station (ISS).
The capsule parachuted back to Earth about four hours after leaving the orbiting laboratory.
NASA said the Boeing Starliner mission It was a “critical step in validating the performance of Boeing’s systems” and that OFT-2 “brings the nation an important step closer to having two unique human transportation systems in place to transport astronauts to and from the space station from American soil.”
SpaceX Elon Musk He is already the firm leader, launching astronauts – and tourists – into space since 2020.
“Today, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and our industrial partner, Boeing, took a major and successful step in the journey to enable more human spaceflight missions to the International Space Station on American spacecraft from American soil,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
“OFT-2’s mission represents the power of collaboration, which allows us to innovate for the benefit of humanity and inspire the world through discovery. This golden age of spaceflight would not have been possible without the thousands of individuals who persevered and poured their passion into this great feat.”
“I am extremely proud of the dedication and perseverance shown by the NASA, Boeing and ULA team that culminated in a successful completion Starliner’s second orbital flight test From start to finish, Steve Stitch, director of the NASA Commercial Crew Program, said in a statement. “During this process, Starliner has provided an enormous amount of valuable data, which we continue to evaluate in our efforts to deliver fully functional, internet-connected spacecraft for crew trips to the space station as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Flight testing began on May 19. The Starliner was launched on a ULA Atlas V rocket. From Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida. It docked at the International Space Station on Friday, after which astronauts there tested Starliner communications and computer systems and carried supplies.
Boeing canceled its first attempt to reach the space station in 2019 after software errors. The problem was fixed last summer, but worn valves thwarted the second attempt.
After reviewing data from NASA and Boeing from this test flight, the teams will continue with plans for Starliner and its next mission, testing the crew’s flight to the space station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.