Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft returns to Earth Wednesday after four and a half days aboard the International Space Station. The return to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico will carry out an uncrewed test run for the spacecraft designed for NASA to transport astronauts to the space station.
When and how can I monitor disconnection and landing events?
Astronauts aboard the space station sealed the Starliner capsule after loading it with 600 pounds of cargo to be returned to Earth Tuesday.
The spacecraft left the orbiting outpost at 14:36 Eastern time on schedule. Less than 20 minutes later, it was more than 300 meters from the station and was preparing for its return journey to the ground when the sun-facing side of the Earth appeared.
It was a wonderful stay by Starliner. “We’re a little sad to see it go,” said Bob Hines, a NASA astronaut currently aboard the space station, after confirming the takeoff was a success.
NASA Television stopped broadcasting after the Starliner left the vicinity of the space station. This The live broadcast will continue at 17:45 Landing expected at 18:49
What will happen during the journey home?
After leaving the space station, Starliner will align its orbit with the chosen landing site in New Mexico. At 6:05 p.m. ET, it is scheduled to fire its thrusters in what is known as de-orbiting, taking the spacecraft out of orbit.
Once combustion is complete, the service module, the portion under the cone-shaped capsule that contains most of the spacecraft’s propulsion and power systems, is ejected. The service module will re-enter the atmosphere separately and burn.
Meanwhile, the Starliner capsule will pierce the atmosphere; Compressing the air against the blind floor will burn the heat shield up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
At an altitude of 28,000 feet, two small parachutes called drogues will open. The three main parachutes will open in about a minute.
While Russian and Chinese astronaut transports have long parachuted onto land instead of splashing out into the ocean, the Starliner is the first American capsule to use this approach. Avoiding salt water will make it easier to replenish the capsule, which is designed to be used up to 10 times.