(ORDO NEWS) — A US military space drone landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday after nearly two and a half years in orbit, Boeing said.
The X-37B unmanned shuttle, which first flew in 2010, has spent a total of more than 10 years in space and has flown more than 1.3 billion miles in six missions, Boeing says.
“This mission highlights the Space Force’s focus on cooperation in space exploration and expanding affordable access to space for our partners, both inside and outside the Department of the Air Force,” said Chief of Space Operations General Chance Saltzman.
Launched in secret, the X-37B was developed for the Air Force by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It is 9 meters long, has a wingspan of 5 meters and is powered by solar panels.
Before the last launch of the shuttle in May 2020, the Pentagon announced a series of scientific experiments that it intends to conduct.
The mission was to test how certain materials react in space, evaluate how ambient radiation in space affects a number of seeds, and convert solar radiation into radioelectric energy, the military said.
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