Air Force's X-37B Breaks Record, Lands After 780 Days in Orbit

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Managed by the Air Drive Speedy Capabilities Workplace, the X-37B program performs threat discount, experimentation and idea of operations growth for reusable house automobile applied sciences. With today's successful landing, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and successfully completed all mission objectives, " said Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Response Office. "Each successive mission advances our nation's space capabilities", said Barbara Barrett, air force secretary.

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 5 or OTV-5 launched on September 7, 2017, onboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 vehicle. The uncrewed space plane had spent 779 days, 17 hours in space, breaking its own long-duration record.

After a record-breaking 780 days circling the Earth, the U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B unmanned space plane dropped out of orbit and landed safely on the same runway that the space shuttle once used.

It also enables the United States to "develop space capabilities necessary to maintain superiority in the space domain", an Air Force statement said.

According to the service, the X-37B is exploring the practicalities and risks of "reusable space vehicle technologies" while also experimenting with space technology. The spacecraft landed successfully at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on October 27. "This milestone demonstrates our commitment to conducting experiments for America's future space exploration", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Keen, X-37B program manager.

The X-37B spacecraft is about 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.5 feet (2.9 meters) high, with a wingspan of almost 15 feet (4.5 meters).

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Officials have revealed few details about the OTV-5 mission but there has been a suggestion it could be part of a push for a US Space Force.

One was a thermal spreader that helped test "experimental electronics" and heat pipe cooling in long-term spaceflight.

"Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing", said Brig. That spacecraft, scaled down from the X-40 model, was not created to go into space but rather to test unmanned, autonomous landing hardware and software.

The X-37B was launched on April 22, 2010 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and returned to Earth in December of the same year.

The 29-foot-long place is about a quarter size of a space shuttle.

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