December 22, 2019 / 1:10 PM / a month ago

Boeing's Starliner lands in desert: company

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is guided into position above a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, U.S. November 21, 2019. Picture taken November 21, 2019. NASA/Cory Huston via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co’s Starliner astronaut spacecraft landed in the New Mexico desert on Sunday, the company said, after faulty software forced officials to cut short an unmanned mission aimed at taking it to the International Space Station. 

The 7:58 a.m. ET (1258 GMT) landing in New Mexico’s White Sands desert capped a turbulent 48 hours for Boeing’s botched milestone test of an astronaut capsule that is designed to help NASA regain its human spaceflight capabilities.

The landing will yield the mission’s most valuable test data after failing to meet its core objective of docking to the space station. 

Starliner’s three main parachutes deployed just over one mile (1,600 meters) from the Earth’s surface after enduring intense heat from the violent reentry through the atmosphere, plummeting at 25 times the speed of sound. 

Writing by Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Frances Kerry

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