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

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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.

More rocket launches:SpaceX Starship successful in fourth test launch

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.

What was Starliner designed for?

The Starliner was designed 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: Eric Lagatta and Mary Walrath-Holdridge.

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

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