Boeing Starliner spacecraft returns to Earth

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 Boeing Starliner spacecraft returned to Earth

NASA's Johnson Space Center said the unmanned Boeing Starliner landed Wednesday after a test flight. The Starliner test program included four and a half days of docking with the International Space Station. Successful completion of the capsule test will allow NASA to begin preparations for the next flight with astronauts on board before the end of the year.

At a press conference a few hours after the capsule landed, NASA spokesman Steve Stich described the landing as perfect and stated that the flight was a success and all mission objectives completed.

After flying over the Pacific Ocean, the Starliner capsule parachuted to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Although the Russian and Chinese space capsules have long landed with parachutes rather than diving into the ocean, Starliner — the first American capsule to use this approach. Landing without contact with salt water will simplify the recovery of the capsule, which is designed to be used up to 10 times.

For the past 10 years, NASA has had to rely on Russia to transport astronauts. The success of the Starliner mission prevents further dependence on Russia, which has become politically difficult since its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

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