Touchdown

Watch: Boeing Starliner makes a cushy landing in New Mexico desert

The landing marks an important milestone for Starliner.

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This week, NASA and Boeing completed a test flight of the Starliner capsule that will set the stage for an upcoming crewed mission.

After a successful launch and four and a half days docked at the International Space Station, Starliner fell back to Earth on May 25, 2022.

NASA Johnson Space Center

GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

While many capsules from space splash down in the ocean, Starliner used a set of airbags to give it a soft landing on the ground at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

NASA Johnson Space Center

The only passenger on board was Rosie, a human-sized dummy equipped with sensors to collect data on what flight conditions will be like for an actual human crew.

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Starliner will carry its first crew to the ISS later in 2022.

This week’s launch was a big milestone for the long-awaited Starliner, which experienced a series of setbacks in recent years.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the landing:

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

10. Starliner detaches from the International Space Station in preparation for its descent to Earth.

NASA/ESA

9. NASA aircraft captured the first images of Starliner streaking to the ground.

NASA/ESA

ESA/NASA

8. The capsule deploys its first two parachutes to slow down.

7. After the first two parachutes deploy, three more come flying out and slowly inflate.

NASA

6. Here’s what they look like at full size.

5. Starliner pops off its heat shield and inflates a set of airbags that will help it make a cushy landing in the desert.

NASA

NASA

4. Here’s what that airbag inflation looks like up close.

3. Starliner soars past mountains and lands safely in an open field in New Mexico.

NASA

NASA/Bill Ingalls

2. Here’s a still shot of the capsule seconds before it lands.

1. Ground crews arrive to simulate the recovery process in preparation for the next landing, which will include a full crew.

NASA