Secret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane Lands After 673 Days on Orbit

Secret X-37B Space Plane Landing 6 photos
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Secret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane LandingSecret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane LandingSecret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane LandingSecret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane LandingSecret X-37B Unmanned Space Plane components
What’s 9-meter long, looks like NASA’s space shuttle, has no man onboard and flies for almost two years? Yep, it’s the US X-37B space plane which just landed after completing a god-knows-what experiment on the Earth’s orbit.
An official release from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California tells their X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3), an unmanned, reusable space plane, returned on solid ground at 9:24 a.m. on October 17th.

"The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication," said Col Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander. "I'm extremely proud of our team for coming together to execute this third safe and successful landing. Everyone from our on console space operators to our airfield managers and civil engineers take ride in this unique mission and exemplify excellence during its execution."

Spy plane or spy plane?

Apart from saying it’s the plane’s longest air time, the company said nothing about what experiments was the space plane doing up there for such a long time, leaving a lot of room for speculations.

Obviously, some say it’s just a drone spy ship used to follow Chinese satellites, while others believe it was up there to interfere with rival spying devices. Truth is, no one knows exactly what this snub-nosed plane did in the meantime.

What we can tell you is that the first of its kind got airborne in April 2010 and returned after 8 months, followed by a second mission in 2011. The project got started with NASA and having Boeing build the whole thing, but was handed over to the military forces after seven years.

Despite pictures on the Internet with people wearing hazard suits around the plane, an older cut-thorough picture (bellow) shows the space plane contains nothing but the electronics and tech to keep it in air and be controlled from a long range. Sure, there’s that “experiment bay” in the middle raising some questions, but that could be anything.

Whatever these aircraft are doing up there, the next flight is due to happen next year.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories