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Boeing Starliner's return delayed: Here's when the astronauts might come back to Earth

USA TODAY

On the heels of a successful launch last week, the return of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to Earth from the International Space Station has been delayed until at least next week.

On June 5, NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore made history taking Boeing's Starliner on its maiden crewed mission.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in eastern Florida at 10:52 a.m. EDT.

Delayed by previous scrubs, Starliner − named Calypso in honor of explorer Jacques Cousteau's ship − landed on the space station on June 6.

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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying two astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner-1 Crew Flight Test (CFT), is launched on a mission to the International Space Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., June 5, 2024.

When is Starliner expected to return to earth?

Initially, NASA reported, Starliner was only slated to spend a week on the space station.

Now, the Starliner and its two astronauts are set to land in the New Mexico desert no earlier than Tuesday, June 18, NASA posted on X.

NASA and Boeing reported a parachute-assisted landing is planned.

Why is Starliner's return to earth delayed?

According to the space agency, additional days at the ISS will allow for Williams, 58, and Wilmore, 61, to assist with a spacewalk on Thursday.

In addition, it will allow engineers more time to complete system checkouts of Starliner, working towards its NASA certification.

Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore speak to NASA officials during a live streamed event on Monday, June 10.

What was Starliner designed for?

ճ to accommodate passengers for missions to low-Earth orbit.

The capsule is intended to carry four astronauts along with a mix of cargo and other scientific instruments to and from the International Space Station for NASA.

It carries more than 750 pounds of cargo including food, clothing, exercise gear, medical supplies, media equipment, and vehicle supplies, NASA reported.

Contributing: .

is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.