Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is about to make its homeward journey after a brief stay on the International Space Station (ISS), and NASA will be livestreaming its homecoming.
The spacecraft is scheduled to depart the space station at 2:36 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 25 before descending to Earth in a parachute-assisted desert landing in New Mexico about four hours later.
Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) unmanned mission, launched last Thursday, is critical for Boeing as it seeks to prove the spacecraft’s reliability after an unsuccessful flight in 2019 when it did not reach the ISS. A second mission was canceled in August 2021 after technical problems were discovered shortly before launch.
While the spacecraft was able to dock with the orbital outposts on Friday, things didn’t go smoothly as a series of technical issues on the final approach meant the procedure took about an hour longer than expected.
Once docked, astronauts aboard the ISS were able to open the hatch and board the spacecraft to collect the 500 pounds of cargo it was carrying. The astronauts may also meet Rosie, a sensor-laden mannequin who has traveled aboard the Starliner and provides engineers with data on conditions inside the spacecraft during the mission.
Before leaving the station, the Starliner is loaded with more than 600 pounds of cargo, including the reusable tanks of the nitrogen-oxygen boosting system that provide breathing air for station crew members. NASA said the tanks will be refurbished on Earth before being sent back to the ISS for a future flight.
A successful OFT-2 mission will pave the way for a manned test flight that will bring the Starliner Major one step closer to becoming part of NASA’s fleet for astronaut missions to and from the ISS.
You can watch a live stream of the Starliner’s homecoming by launching the video player at the top of this page or by going to NASA websitecarrying the same feed.
NASA’s broadcast begins at 2:00 p.m. ET. on Wednesday, May 25, and shows the Starliner undocking from the ISS at 2:36 p.m. ET. This first live stream will end once the spacecraft has left the space station and has been confirmed to be heading home.
Another broadcast will begin Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. ET and will show the Starliner’s deorbit burn at 6:05 p.m. ET, followed by the landing in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m. ET
A Return to Earth The press conference to discuss the mission will also be broadcast from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
NASA advises that the schedule could change if last-minute technical problems are discovered or if the weather at the landing site takes an unexpected turn.
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