Military mini-shuttle returns from top secret mission
Designed to be launched like a satellite and land like an airplane, the second X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, built by Boeing for the United States Air Force, successfully completes first flight, after a record setting mission lasted 469 days in orbit. Image credit: Boeing.
“The vehicle was designed for a mission duration of about 270 days,” said Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the X-37B program manager. “We knew from post-flight assessments from the first mission that OTV-1 could have stayed in orbit longer. So one of the goals of this mission was to see how much farther we could push the on-orbit duration.”
“With the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, the X-37B OTV program brings a singular capability to space technology development. The return capability allows the Air Force to test new technologies without the same risk commitment faced by other programs,” McIntyre said.
Image credit: Boeing
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