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Boeing's Starliner making its way back to Earth. Photo: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner — a capsule designed to one day bring humans to orbit — is back on Earth after the uncrewed spacecraft failed in its bid to dock with the International Space Station.

Why it matters: The Starliner was originally expected to bring its first crew to the space station for NASA in early 2020, but this mission's problems may call that timeline into question.

Details: According to Boeing, the landing appeared to go smoothly on Sunday morning, with a good touchdown in White Sands, New Mexico.

  • The landing comes days earlier than expected, however, after Starliner burned more fuel than planned just after launch on Friday due to a problem with its onboard automated clock.
  • That issue led mission managers to call off the capsule's docking attempt with the station, opting instead to bring the spacecraft back to Earth early.

Between the lines: According to Boeing and NASA, the mission wasn't a total failure even though docking didn't occur.

  • Flight controllers still ran Starliner through its paces in orbit and during landing to gather key data about how the spacecraft will behave when people are eventually put on board.

The big picture: NASA hopes to use Boeing's Starliner and a complementary system SpaceX is developing to start launching NASA astronauts from U.S. soil again, ending the agency's reliance on Russia's Soyuz capsule and rocket for human space launches.

Go deeper: Boeing's Starliner won't reach space station after malfunction

Go deeper

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.