The space drone X-37B keeps breaking records. After two and a half years in orbit, the US Army’s unmanned shuttle landed safely in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday, aircraft manufacturer Boeing said. Since its first flight in 2010, X-37B has spent a total of more than ten years in space during its six missions.
It “continues to break records and provides our country with an unparalleled ability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said Boeing Space Vice President Jim Chilton.
Launched in the greatest secrecy, the X-37B was designed for the United States 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 had lifted the veil on its objectives before its last launch, in May 2020, by evoking a whole series of scientific experiments. The mission was to test the reactions of certain materials in space, evaluate the effects of ambient radiation in space on a series of seeds, and transform solar radiation into radio-electric energy, the army explained.