The X-37B spaceplane landed Sunday morning after more than two years of mission. A success, they say from the US Air Force, but the purpose of the record flight continues to be mysterious
Another record flight for the mysterious spaceplane X-37B, which landed, after 780 days in orbit, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, at 3:51 local time. Taking off for its fifth mission on 7 September 2017, the space plane – a reusable test vehicle of the US Air Force, obviously without a pilot – has thus beaten its previous record of 718 days. A success that reaffirms the spatial supremacy of the United States, say the US Air Force. But the stated objectives of the missions remain a bit vague.
Despite the five missions behind, not much is known about X-37B, except that it resembles what was the Space Shuttle (the retired American space shuttle) but in reduced size – only 8.8 meters which does not allow host a crew.
Officially, the Air Force has always declared this to be a test vehicle for testing technologies for long stays in orbit, on which experiments with the same purpose are carried out and which also allows the positioning of new satellites. The meager information provided, however, has helped to fuel a certain aura of mystery around the five missions of the automatic spaceplane, so much so that there have been those who have suspected it is a weapon to sabotage enemy satellites.
Going on to the official version, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett commented: “The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable space plane. Each subsequent mission advances our nation’s spatial capabilities “.
So far, the X-37B spaceplane has accumulated a total of 2,865 flight days. The reusable space aircraft of the Us Air Force confirms to be a key component for the future US space exploration.
“With the success of this landing, the X-37B has completed its longest flight to date and has completed all mission objectives,” added Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. “This mission has successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments, among others, as well as providing a passage for small satellites.”