This U.S Space Force Secret Plane Has Landed After Spending A Record 908 Days In Orbit

Loud sonic booms were heard in Florida, which marked the return of the X-37B. The solar-powered vehicle, which looks like a miniature space shuttle, touched down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida today (Nov. 12) at 5:22 a.m. EST (1022 GMT). The wing vehicle had spent 908 days in orbit—more than four months longer than any previous X-37B flight.

The Space Force said in a statement that NASA conducted several experiments during the trip. It was also the first X-37B mission to include a service module, which the Space Force described as “a ring attached to the rear of the vehicle that expands the number of experiments that can be hosted during a mission.”

One of the experiments, conducted in partnership with the Naval Research Laboratory, involved converting solar power into microwave energy. Another aimed to test the durability of certain materials exposed to space conditions. A third experiment was designed to study the long-term effects of space radiation on seeds to explore crop production and “the establishment of permanently inhabited bases in space.”

With the successful completion of its sixth mission, the reusable spaceplane has now flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a total of 3,774 days in space, where it conducts experiments for government and industry partners with the ability to return them to Earth for evaluation.

“The X-37B continues to push the boundaries of experimentation, enabled by an elite government and industry team behind the scenes,” said Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Fritschen, Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office’s X-37B Program Director. “The ability to conduct on-orbit experiments and bring them home safely for in-depth analysis on the ground has proven valuable for the Department of the Air Force and scientific community.” The addition of the service module on OTV-6 allowed us to host more experiments than ever before.

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