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Space & Astronomy

X-37B space plane is nearing orbital record

March 17, 2017 | Comment icon 3 comments



What has the X-37B been doing over the last two years ? Image Credit: NASA
The US Air Force's mysterious space plane is on track to break the mission duration record of 674 days.
The solar-powered space plane, which looks a lot like a miniature version of NASA's space shuttles, had been originally designed to repair satellites before NASA discontinued the project and passed it over to the US Department of Defense back in 2004.

Since then the exact nature and purpose of the X-37B have remained a total mystery. All we know is that it is capable of spending years in orbit on a single mission without having to return to Earth.
Some have speculated that it is being used to carry out covert operations over foreign nations or that it is transporting new instruments in to orbit for use with spy satellites.

Whatever the case, its latest mission, which launched back in May 2015, is looking to be the longest yet. If it remains in orbit until March 25th it will have officially broken its record of 674 days in space.

Exactly what it has been doing up there all this time however remains as unclear as ever.

Source: Space.com | Comments (3)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by EBE Hybrid 5 years ago
It's probably the "Swiss Army Knife" of space-craft, handy for surveillance, comms satalite hacking, satalite hunter/killer, deliverer of KEW platforms, possibly, maybe even a test-bed to assess long term use of space technologies. It's probably 75% nothing special and 25% really cool secret stuff
Comment icon #2 Posted by Chaldon 5 years ago
Huh. Since the Shuttle program was closed the militaries were grieving over the loss of the infamous A-bomb compartment. Now they're regaining it, end of the story.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Claire. 5 years ago
UPDATE: Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Breaks Orbital Record The ongoing mission of the U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane is now the longest in the clandestine program's history. As of today (March 25), the X-37B has spent 675 days on its latest Earth-circling mission, which is known as Orbital Test Vehicle-4 (OTV-4). The previous record was 674 days, set during OTV-3, which lasted from December 2012 to October 2014. Read more: Live Science


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