Boeing CST-100 Starliner Back Home in Florida After Inaugural Flight

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is back home at the company's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, undergoing inspection after its first flight as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, known as the Orbital Flight Test. The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is back home at the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, undergoing inspection after its first flight as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, known as the Orbital Flight Test.

Starliner launched atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. The mission successfully landed two days later on Sunday, Dec. 22, completing an abbreviated test that performed several mission objectives before returning to Earth as the first orbital land touchdown of a human-rated capsule in U.S. history.

Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

NASA Update on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test

Boeing, NASA, and U.S. Army personnel work around the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft shortly after it landed in White Sands, New Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA and Boeing are in the process of establishing a joint, independent investigation team to examine the primary issues associated with the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test.

The independent team will inform NASA and Boeing on the root cause of the mission elapsed timer anomaly and any other software issues and provide corrective actions needed before flying crew to the International Space Station for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The team will review the primary anomalies experienced during the Dec. 2019 flight test, any potential contributing factors and provide recommendations to ensure a robust design for future missions. Once underway, the investigation is targeted to last about two months before the team delivers its final assessment.

In parallel, NASA is evaluating the data received during the mission to determine if another uncrewed demonstration is required. This decision is not expected for several weeks as teams take the necessary time for this review. NASA’s approach will be to determine if NASA and Boeing received enough data to validate the system’s overall performance, including launch, on-orbit operations, guidance, navigation and control, docking/undocking to the space station, reentry and landing. Although data from the uncrewed test is important for certification, it may not be the only way that Boeing is able to demonstrate its system’s full capabilities.

The uncrewed flight test was proposed by Boeing as a way to meet NASA’s mission and safety requirements for certification and as a way to validate that the system can protect astronauts in space before flying crew. The uncrewed mission, including docking to the space station, became a part of the company’s contract with NASA. Although docking was planned, it may not have to be accomplished prior to the crew demonstration. Boeing would need NASA’s approval to proceed with a flight test with astronauts onboard.

Starliner currently is being transported from the landing location near the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range to the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida. Since landing, teams have safed the spacecraft for transport, downloaded data from the spacecraft’s onboard systems for analysis and completed initial inspections of the interior and exterior of Starliner. A more detailed analysis will be conducted after the spacecraft arrives at its processing facility.

Boeing’s Orbital Flight test launched on Friday, Dec. 20, on United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission successfully landed two days later on Sunday, Dec. 22, completing an abbreviated test that performed several mission objectives before returning to Earth as the first orbital land touchdown of a human-rated capsule in U.S. history.

NASA, Boeing Complete Successful Landing of Starliner Flight Test

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft lands in White Sands, New Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft completed the first land touchdown of a human-rated capsule in U.S. history Sunday at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico, wrapping up the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Starliner settled gently onto its airbags at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST) in a pre-dawn landing that helps set the stage for future crewed landings at the same site. The landing followed a deorbit burn at 7:23 a.m., separation of the spacecraft’s service module, and successful deployment of its three main parachutes and six airbags.

More details: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-boeing-complete-successful-landing-of-starliner-flight-test

Tune in for Starliner Postlanding News Conference

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is seen after it landed in White Sands, New Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner landed safely this morning, concluding the company’s Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams, who will command the next mission of the Starliner that landed this morning, named this Orbital Flight Test capsule “Calypso.” The name is an ode to the ship of Jacques Cousteau and invokes the vastness of the sea and space. 

Tune into NASA TV for a postlanding news conference at 10:00 a.m. EST with:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s Space and Launch Division
  • Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Lands Safely

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner moments after landing in White Sands, New Mexico

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner touched down safely at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico at 7:58 a.m. EST, concluding its Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Recovery teams are beginning work to retrieve Starliner this morning.

Infrared image of CST-100 Starliner touching down in White Sands, New Mexico

NASA and Boeing will host a postlanding news conference at 10 a.m. EST with:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s Space and Launch Division
  • Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program

To participate in the postlanding news conference via phone bridge, media must contact the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center at 281-483-5111 no later than 9:45 a.m. The news conference will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

 

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Service Module Separation Confirmed

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has separated from its service module. Drogue parachute deployment is expected at approximately 7:53 a.m. EST, with main parachutes deploying soon afterwards.

Tune in now for continuing live NASA TV coverage of the landing at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico.

Go/No Go Poll for Deorbit Burn Complete

Landing teams have just completed a go/no go poll for the deorbit burn of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on return from its Orbital Flight Test. The deorbit burn will take place at approximately 7:23 a.m. EST.

Tune in now for continuing live NASA TV coverage of the landing at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico.

Landing Coverage of Boeing CST-100 Starliner Begins

Illustration of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner landing

Tune in now for live NASA TV coverage of the landing of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on return from its Orbital Flight Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

At approximately 7:00 a.m. EST, teams will conduct a go/no go poll for the deorbit burn. Landing is scheduled for 7:57 a.m. EST, approximately one hour before sunrise at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico.