Starliner makes flawless landing after flawed flight

Starliner landing
Boeing, NASA, and U.S. Army personnel put a protective cover over Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft shortly after its landing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner space taxi made a flawless automated landing in New Mexico today, marking the end of an orbital test flight that was cut short due to a glitch with the craft’s timing system.

Because of the glitch, NASA and Boeing had to forgo Starliner’s planned trip to the International Space Station. But the uncrewed transport notched a first in space history nevertheless by becoming the first crew-capable U.S. space capsule to make its return from orbit on land.

The spacecraft also got its christening from NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who is scheduled to fly on the craft after its refurbishment.

“A little homage to other explorers and the ships that they rode on,” Williams said during a NASA webcast. “I think we’re going to call her Calypso.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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