The US Air Force ’s X-37B space plane is one of the most popular secrets in space exploration. Today, it has successfully returned to Earth after 780 days in unmanned space, which is a new record of confidential missions such as the military.
The latest mission is the X-37B orbital test vehicle 5 (OTV-5) mission, which was conducted on Sunday, October 27, 2019, and is the fifth long mission in the US Air Force fleet. Air Force officials said that the X-37B OTV-5 landed at NASA ’s Space Shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3:51 am Eastern Daylight Time (0751 GMT). The mission was originally launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on September 7, 2017.
We first reported that the X-37B OTV-5 broke the U.S. Air Force ’s record for the first time in August after completing a 717-day space flight. The OTV-4 mission recorded a record 718 days as of May 2017.
"This spacecraft is a key component of the aerospace community. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Keen, X-37B project manager, said in an Air Force statement:" This milestone shows our commitment to the United States Experiment with future space exploration. "Congratulations to the X-37B team for doing very well."
The U.S. Air Force ’s X-37B spacecraft can fly in space for a long time through solar panels without the need for a crew. As of now, the Air Force is known to have at least two X-37Bs, both of which are manufactured by Boeing. The solar car looks like NASA ’s old-fashioned space shuttle orbiter, but it is much smaller. The X-37B may be perfectly suitable for the space shuttle ’s payload compartment.
On October 27, 2019 at NASA After landing at the Space Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center to end its record-breaking 780-day OTV-5 mission, it saw an unmanned US Air Force X-37B space plane. Source: US Air Force
So far, the Air Force has not been keen to disclose details about the specific purpose of the space shuttle mission, but the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) said they have been used to test experimental electronic equipment
However, some speculate that confidential space flight The mission is to lay an early foundation for President Donald Trump ’s goal of establishing American space. The Air Force.
"This aircraft The return of the device ’s safety has broken its own endurance record and is the result of an innovative partnership between the government and industry, ”Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfin said in a statement.
In the same statement In addition, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett added: "The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of reusable space planes. "She said.
In addition, compared to the previous X-37B flight, OTV-5 also flew to a higher inclined orbit, which indicates that it has carried out new experiments or technical tests. Air Force officials today in a copy The statement confirmed that OTV-5 conducted multiple experiments and put smaller satellites into orbit.
"With today's successful landing, X-37B completed the longest flight to date and successfully completed All mission objectives, "Randy Walden, director of the Air Force ’s Office of Rapid Capabilities, said in a statement." The mission successfully hosted the Air Force Research Laboratory experiments and provided flight for small satellites.
"The main goal of X-37B is twofold; Air Force officials wrote in the X-37B fact sheet:" Reusable spacecraft technology can meet the future needs of the United States in space and operational experiments. These technologies You can go back and check on the earth. "