Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft has completed its recent 6-day test flight and successfully returned to Earth on May 25. The spacecraft departed from the International Space Station and landed at White Sands Missile Range's Space Harbor in New Mexico. The landing was broadcast by Boeing on its YouTube channel, and NASA announced the news on its website.
The CST-100 Starliner was launched on May 19 and experienced several problems during the launch – soon after separation from the rocket, two of the 12 thrusters failed and cut off earlier than they were supposed to. However, this did not prevent the spacecraft from performing the required maneuver and docking to the Harmony module of the ISS.
On the way back, the spacecraft carried more than 270 kg of cargo from the ISS. On May 25, Starliner undocked from the ISS, and on May 26, launched the engines to leave the orbit. The spacecraft subsequently re-entered the atmosphere, activated its parachutes, and landed safely at the missile range.
Starliner is Boeing's spacecraft that, together with SpaceX's Crew Dragon, was selected by NASA to participate in the Commercial Crew Program to develop transportation systems and transfer astronaut crews from the USA to the International Space Station and vice versa. If the capsule passes the required certification by NASA, the Starliner could depart for the ISS with a crew by the end of the year, according to the agency.