WILLCOX — Cattle auctions, wine, singing cowboys . . . now add rocket landing location to list of what makes Willcox unique.
The Boeing Company will conduct a public meeting in Willcox on Wednesday to discuss plans for Willcox Playa to potentially serve as a landing site for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.
Tiffany Pitts, Boeing communications, branding and government operations specialist, told the Range News that Boeing Technical Lead Marty Linde will lead the presentation, which will include an informational video regarding the Starliner landing procedure as well as the spacecraft itself.
After multiple presentations, the meeting will be opened for questions from the audience.
“The briefing is a presentation on the liner and what this landing means for the community,” Pitts said. “It is also for those in attendance to understand, if there is a Starliner landing, what happens during the landing.”
Pitts reiterated that the Dry Lake region outside of Willcox is only one of several landing location options for the spacecraft; there is no guarantee that the spacecraft will be landing at Dry Lake.
An unmanned mission of the Boeing craft Starliner is scheduled for December and requires multiple landing site options. Pitts told the Range News that there are only five suitable landing locations available for the Starliner, and the Willcox Playa is one of them.
The presentation will take place Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m., in the Willcox Community Center.
Boeing's Commercial Crew Transportation System, called the CST-100 Starliner, is a full-service system. It provides all elements needed to transport crew and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit destinations, including crew training and mission planning, spacecraft and launch vehicle assembly, integration and testing, and crew and cargo recovery.
According to Boeing, the goal is to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective access to space, beginning with missions to the International Space Station, with NASA as the flagship customer.
In 2014, Boeing was awarded up to $4.2 billion by NASA to build, test and fly the Starliner. The contract includes six service missions as well as an uncrewed and crewed flight test to the space station.