Boeing’s Starliner capsule lands in White Sands, New Mexico on May 25, 2022 to complete the OFT-2 mission.
The Starliner landed at the US Army’s White Sands missile range, after leaving the International Space Station earlier in the day – and concluded the six-day Orbital Flight Test 2, or OFT-2 mission.
The mission completed one of its most important test goals, reaching the International Space Station and successfully docking. OFT-2 represents an important milestone in Boeing’s development of the Starliner, which has faced many obstacles and delays over the past three years.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is seen prior to docking with the International Space Station on May 20, 2022 during the uncrewed OFT-2 mission.
Boeing is developing its Starliner spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew program, after winning nearly $5 billion in contracts to build the capsule. The company competes under the program against Elon Musk SpaceX, which has completed the development of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and is now In the fourth human spaceflight working for NASA.
The space giant was previously seen as equally compatible with SpaceX in the race to launch NASA astronauts. However, delays in Starliner development have set Boeing steadily back, in terms of schedule and finances. Due to the fixed-price nature of its contract with NASA, Boeing has absorbed the cost of additional work on the capsule and has spent $595 million to date.
Boeing’s next Starliner mission is expected to be the Crew Flight Test, or CFT, as it leads the first astronauts aboard the capsule. But, The company is considering whether to redesign The Aerojet RocketidaneThe thrust valves were built on the Starliner, which failed during the company’s first attempt to launch the OFT-2 mission in August 2021.
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