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Boeing eyes Southern Arizona site for space-capsule landings

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Teams from NASA, Boeing and the White Sands Missile Range, rehearse landing and crew extraction from Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, which will be used to carry humans to the International Space Station, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 at the White Sands Missile Range outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. Using a convoy of vehicles Boeing uses to recover their spacecraft after landing and a boiler plate test article of the Starliner capsule, the teams worked through the steps necessary to safe the vehicle and get future crew members out of the Starliner to return home. NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson will fly to the space station aboard the Starliner for the Boeing Crew Flight Test mission. /Photo Credit: Boeing 

By David Wichner | Arizona Daily Star  

Aerospace giant Boeing Co. is planning to land manned space capsules being developed for NASA on a vast dry lakebed near Willcox.

Boeing officials briefed the Cochise County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning on its plan to land the Starliner capsule on a site owned by the U.S. Army and the state, roughly in the center of Willcox Playa.

NASA awarded Boeing a $4.2 billion contract in 2014 to develop and build Starliner crew capsules under its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability program, part of an effort launched in 2010 to spur private-sector space transportation as NASA retired its last space shuttle.

SpaceX was also awarded a $2.6 billion contract to develop its Dragon crewed space capsule.

Boeing plans to conduct a test flight of an unmanned Starliner capsule Dec. 17 and its first crewed flight next spring, the company said in a presentation to the Cochise supervisors.

A public meeting on the landing site is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Willcox Community Center, 312 W. Stewart St.

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  • Published: 4 weeks ago on November 13, 2019
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