Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft parachuted to an airbag-cushioned landing in New Mexico on Dec. 22 to conclude an abbreviated two-day test orbital test flight that accomplished many objectives, but missed a planned rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station.
The human-rated crew capsule — flying without astronauts for its first trip into space — landed at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST; 1258 GMT) on Dec. 22.
Boeing’s recovery team at White Sands approached the capsule after it landing, ensured it was not leaking any toxic fumes, and then opened the hatch to begin inspections of the ship’s pressurized crew cabin, where an instrumented test dummy named “Rosie” was strapped inside the cockpit.
The ship will be reused for a future mission with NASA astronauts Suni Williams, Josh Cassada and two international partner crew members. After the capsule’s landing Dec. 22, Williams named the spaceship “Calypso” in an ode to the ship used by French oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau.
Boeing is building a separate vehicle for the first crewed Starliner test flight with Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA crewmates Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann.
The photos below show the Boeing recovery team readying for the Starliner’s predawn landing with spotlights at White Sands, followed by views of the capsule descending under parachutes, and images showing the spacecraft’s crew module and jettisoned heat shield after landing.
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