The X-37B, United States Air Force’s spaceplane, has successfully landed at Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility of NASAon 27th October. As per reports, with this achievement, the X-37B spaceplane, which is an Orbital Test Vehicles, completes its fifth mission. It travelled for 780 days and has broken its own record by orbiting for more than two years. As per the Air Force, the test-vehicle program got over in 2,865 days. But, the interesting thing is that the X-37B was actually designed to orbit for only 270 days.
Barbara Barrett, the Air Force’s Secretary said that the spaceplane has demonstrated the real importance of a spaceplane which can be reused in future. The X-37B was launched under the OTV-5 mission with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX. The program was managed by the ‘Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office’.
Notably, the spaceplane program has been used to test technologies in the space environment since a long time period. One of the major experiments of the OTV-5 is the ASETS-II (second Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader) of the US Air Force Research Laboratory. This will evaluate the performance of the oscillating heat pipe in the space in long run.
As per report, the X-37B’s sixth mission will be held in 2020 and will be taking off from Cape Canaveral.