Home International Unmanned US Air Force space plane lands after secret, two-year mission

Unmanned US Air Force space plane lands after secret, two-year mission


United States military’s experimental X-37B space plane landed at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida yesterday, completing a classified mission that lasted nearly two years. The Boeing-built space plane blasted off in May 2015 from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The X-37B, one of two in the Air Force fleet, conducted unspecified experiments for more than 700 days while in orbit. It was the fourth and lengthiest mission so far for the secretive program, managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
The Air Force has said, the orbiters perform risk reduction, experimentation and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.

The Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit group promoting the peaceful exploration of space, says the secrecy surrounding the space plane suggests the presence of intelligence-related hardware being tested or evaluated aboard the craft.

The X-37B, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, first flew in April 2010 and returned after eight months. A second mission launched in March 2011 and lasted 15 months, while a third took flight in December 2012 and returned after 22 months.

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