Science

Secretive Military Spaceplane Lands in Florida After Record-Long Orbital Flight

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WASHINGTON—The Pentagons secretive X-37B spaceplane landed in Florida on Sunday after a record-long orbital flight lasting more than two years, the U.S. Air Force said. It caps the latest test mission for an array of military technologies.

The unpiloted X-37B, built by Boeing Co., touched down on an airstrip at NASAs Kennedy Space Center at 3:51 a.m. ET after spending 780 days orbiting Earth as the Air Forces fifth flight mission under the Orbital Test Vehicle program, the Air Force said.

The spaceplane, roughly the size of a small bus and sharing many design features with NASAs Space Shuttle, was sent into orbit in 2017 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission was managed by the Washington-based Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office to conduct various classified technology experiments in a long-duration space environment.

“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane,” Barbara Barrett, the newly appointed Air Force secretary, said in a statement. “Each successive mission advances our nations space capabilities.”

The previous X-37B mission lasted 718 days and landed in 2017. Sunday mornings landing tallies 2,865 total days for the program overall, the Air Force said.

The Pentagon, increaRead More – Source