Making spacecrafts and crew capsules land on ground has always been a dream for agencies that deal with space exploration. Last week, however, the Boeing Starliner made a bit of historical record by becoming the first crew capsule to make its touchdown on the ground instead of sea. Although there have been other crew capsules that made it to the earth, most of them were landed on sea, which has been the conventions for a few decades now. This achievement from Boeing is a new step in the world of space explorations, although the mission as such did not go according to the plan.
It should be noted that this trip by Boeing Starliner was expected to be a starting point for many things. The spacecraft was expected to dock into the International Space Station but that did not take place. This was so because the non-crew mission could not maneuver into the right orbit. However, NASA and Boeing do claim that the mission was able to collect 90% of data it was supposed to. NASA actually added that the issue was due to an automation system and the issue could have been ignored had there been astronauts on board the ship.
“The #Starliner spacecraft safely touched down at 7:58am ET at @WSMissileRange in New Mexico with a bulleye landing. This marks the 1st time an American-made, human-rated capsule has landed on land,” read a tweet from the official handle of NASA as the spacecraft made its touchdown in New Mexico. It should be noted that this incident could be a mixed signal for both NASA and Boeing. The American space organization has been trying to get away from its dependency on Russian trips when it comes to taking astronauts to the ISS. However, NASA also wants to ensure that trips via SpaceX and Boeing are secure enough.