Space drone The X-37B continues to break records. After two and a half years in orbit, the US military’s unmanned spacecraft landed safely in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday, aircraft manufacturer Boeing said. Since its first flight in 2010, the X-37B has spent a total of more than ten years in space during its six missions.
It “continually breaks records and gives our nation an unparalleled ability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said Jim Chilton, vice president of Boeing Space.
The highly secretive X-37B was designed for the US Air Force by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It is nine meters long, has a wingspan of 4.5 meters and is powered by solar panels.
The Pentagon lifted the veil on its intentions in May 2020, instigating a whole series of science tests ahead of its last launch. The mission was to test the reactions of certain materials in space, evaluate the effects of ambient radiation in space on the array of seeds and convert solar radiation into radio-electric energy, the military explained.