Skip to main content

NASA selects new date for Starliner’s crewed return

Boeing Space's Starliner docked at the International Space Station in June 2024.
The Starliner spacecraft is shown docked to the Harmony module’s forward port at the International Space Station, 263 miles above the Mediterranean Sea. NASA

Boeing Space’s Starliner crew capsule is now expected to depart the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, June 25, NASA has said.

Starliner, on its first crewed mission, delivered NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the ISS on June 6 after launching atop a ULA Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida the previous day.

The Starliner and its two crew members were only supposed to stay at the ISS for about a week, but it was later decided to extend the mission to June 22 to conduct engine tests to evaluate the performance of the Starliner’s reaction control thrusters after some of them exhibited issues during the spacecraft’s final approach to the ISS when it arrived there earlier this month. Those tests were carried out over the weekend and mission teams supporting the Starliner flight will continue to review the resulting data.

In all, five of the Starliner’s 28 reaction control thrusters failed on final approach, though four of them eventually began working again. The reaction control thrusters will play a vital role during the Starliner’s reentry into Earth’s atmosphere by helping to maintain proper orientation of the crew capsule.

NASA has now decided to keep the Starliner at the orbital outpost for several more days and is targeting no earlier than 10:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 25, for the undocking of the Starliner spacecraft.

Assuming NASA sticks to its latest departure schedule, Williams and Wilmore will land at about 4:51 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 26, in the desert grounds of White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. The homecoming will mark the first time an American capsule has touched down on land with astronauts aboard, with previous landings having taken place on water.

This is the second time for the Starliner to rendezvous with the space station, though its first visit, in 2022, was without any astronauts on board.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Starliner’s return to Earth delayed again, until next month
Boeing's Starliner capsule docked at the ISS.

The Boeing Starliner that is currently docked at the International Space Station (ISS) after making its first crewed test flight will not be returning to Earth this week as planned. The return of the Starliner has already been delayed once, but now NASA has announced that the return will not take place until early July.

The Starliner launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 6 and made it safely to the ISS carrying NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore. However, there were problems with helium leaks both before and during the journey as well as an issue with the spacecraft's reaction control thrusters that required two attempts at docking.

Read more
How to watch the Starliner spacecraft’s historic crewed homecoming
Boeing’s Starliner crew ship is seen moments after docking to the International Space Station’s forward port on the Harmony module.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

NASA is currently targeting Tuesday, June 25, for the undocking of Boeing Space’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft from the International Space Station. NASA will live stream Tuesday’s undocking and also the landing the following day. Read on for full details on how to watch.

Read more
NASA confirms date for first spacewalk of 2024 after last week’s cancellation
The International Space Station.

NASA is aiming to conduct its first spacewalk of 2024 on Monday, June 24.

It follows last week’s cancellation of a spacewalk due to a “spacesuit discomfort issue” experienced by NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick while preparing for his very first extravehicular activity (EVA), which is the official name for spacewalks.

Read more