DARPA’s Secret Unmanned X-37B Craft Will Return to Earth Soon

Posted on Dec 01, 2010 in - NASA / Space Exploration

Source: Space.com

The U.S. military’s mysterious X-37B space plane will complete its maiden voyage with a return to Earth as early as Friday (Dec. 3), Air Force officials said today.

Personnel at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California are preparing for the return of the unmanned X-37B space plane, which has been aloft on its classified debut spaceflight since April, officials with the Air Force Space Command said in a statement released today (Nov. 30).

“While the exact landing date and time will depend on technical and weather considerations, it is expected to occur between Friday, December 3, and Monday, December 6,” Air Force officials said in the statement. [Video of the X-37B in space]

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 1, launched atop an Atlas 5 rocket on April 22. Since then, it has been circling the Earth performing a mission that has been shrouded in secrecy. What the reusable spacecraft has actually been doing is classified, as is its mission’s cost, Air Force officials have said.

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