NASA breakthrough: Boeing’s faulty spacecraft returns home and makes unprecedented history

1 min


NASA breakthrough: Boeing’s faulty spacecraft returns home and makes unprecedented history 1

The craft touched down in at New Mexico’s White Sands Missile range, making it the first US-made crew ready capsule to land on solid ground. Previous crafts landed in the ocean, marking this as something of a watershed moment. “We pinpoint landed it,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, after a two-day test flight that was meant to last a week.

“It was an absolute bullseye, better than I think anybody anticipated,” Mr Bridenstine said

“That’s good for the agency, it’s good for Boeing; that’s good for the United States of America.”

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Boeing has been developing the Starliner with funding from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, most notably a $ 4.2billion (£3.23million) contract that was announced in September 2014.

That deal also includes pay for six crew-carrying flights to and from the ISS.

Originally the craft was set to deliver presents and food to the six crew members on the International Space Station, but unfortunately the craft failed to reach its intended orbit due to a problem rooted in the automation system.

Due to this fault the system incorrectly assessed the timing of the flight and due to the lack of personnel aboard returned to Earth much earlier than planned.

The ship’s internal clock failed to sync with the Atlas V rocket carrying it and was off by 11 hours.

Due to the error, the capsule burned up too much fuel trying to orient itself and then lacked the reserves to reach the Space Station.

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As much as 85 to 90 percent of the data Boeing was looking to gather was achieved Mr Chilton said during a post touch down briefing.

Looking ahead, Boeing has been considering fully manned flights in early 2020.

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“We’ve got a lot of learning in front of us,” Mr Bridenstine said.

“But we have enough information and data to keep moving forward in a very positive way.”

The successful return of the lander comes as SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.

The launch marks the latest in a series that is distributing Starlink satellites in the low orbit.

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