Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft lands successfully in New Mexico

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft successfully landed Sunday morning in New Mexico, according to NASA officials.

Update 12 p.m. EST Dec. 22: The Starliner capsule was launched Friday morning from Cape Canaveral, but encountered issues shortly after and failed to reach the International Space Station.

Original report: The Starliner capsule is expected to land Sunday after it failed to reach the International Space Station, NASA said.

Boeing encountered some issues after launching its Starliner spacecraft from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning.

Boeing is working toward flying astronauts to the station for NASA as part of the commercial crew program.

The Starliner was slated to carry about 600 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. After its launch, while NASA officials said it remained in a stable orbit, the capsule missed its burn to rendezvous with the space station.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that since the capsule believed it was in orbital insertion burn when it wasn’t, more fuel was burned than anticipated to maintain control

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said if the mission had been crewed, the issues, which were due to automation, wouldn’t have happened.

While the space vehicle is completely automated, NASA regulations ensure the astronauts can manually take over at any time.

“There could have been actions that we could have taken, and we will continue to develop those actions," said Nicole Mann, a NASA astronaut.

“Remember what we do as an agency,” Bridenstine said during a post-launch news conference. “We do really difficult things, and we do it all the time. Yes, we have challenges, but we figure out what those challenges are, we fix them and we move forward.”

Dozens of locals and tourists from all over the world witnessed the launch at Jetty Park on Friday morning.

“I’m from South Florida, so to be here to experience this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Jessica Nurquez.

Anita Sant was also excited to watch the launch, saying, “I’m just amazed that I’ve been able to be here to see that happen."

Despite the Starliner’s failure to reach the space station, NASA said the test still accomplished what it needed to, in the sense of continually learning everything possible to keep launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.

Bridenstine announced Saturday that the capsule is expected to land at 5:57 a.m. MST Sunday at the landing site at White Sands Space Harbor on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, with a backup opportunity at the same site at 1:48 p.m. MST.

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