The unmanned robotic spacecraft of the U.S Air Force – X-37B has made a strong come back to Earth after wrapping up its two years old classified mission.
On 20th May 2015, the fourth confidential X-37B space plane mission of the U.S. Air Force named as ‘Orbital Test Vehicle 4’ – took off from the Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and successfully entered into orbit. Since then, the space plane has been on a classified mission on behalf of the Air Force of the United States. And now, after completing 718 days orbital mission, the spacecraft has made its successful homecoming to Earth. On May 7, 2017, the spacecraft after accomplishing record-breaking 718 days mission in space effectively landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
Though the U.S Air Force Agency has yet not disclosed the objectives of the mission conspiracy theorists recommend that the plane, during its 718 days mission, was testing a new-kind-of weapon, or conducting surveillance on other suspected areas and agencies. However, the official announcement regarding the mission objective is yet to be confirmed by the U.S Air Force. The plane which looks like a small space shuttle is capable of flying automatically. Over this weekend, on 7th May, the plane landed at Cape Canaveral – bringing its two years old mission that started in May 2015 to an end. However, up to now, the US Air Force didn’t divulge what the spacecraft had been doing in space or why it had flooded back to earth.
The spacecraft landed on runway 15 at NASA’s Cape Canaveral using standard aircraft-style landing mechanism. The arrival event of the space plane was akin to the superannuated unmanned space shuttle program. As officially confirmed, the spacecraft touched down the runway at approximately 08:00 AM local time zone in the Eastern U.S. In spite of its confidential mission, U.S Air Force has published the video of its landing on social media.
As said by the U.S Air Force, the unmanned orbiter performed a number of risk reductions, experimentations and concept-of-operations advancement for introducing progressive technologies for the reusable space vehicle. Apart from these few lines, the agency has kept other details of the mission including its cost classified.