Space Plane Returns Safely From Secretive Mission

Sonic booms announce the return of the X-37B to Florida
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2022 3:55 PM CST
Sonic Booms Give Away Return of Secretive Space Plane
The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday.   (Boeing /U.S. Space Force via AP)

Most information about the US military's space plane is classified, but dozens of sonic booms announced its return to Florida on Saturday after a record stay in orbit. The robotic spacecraft landed safely at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, reports. The craft, built by Boeing, was in orbit for 908 days, a record by more than four months. The payload included a new service module, a first. "This was the most we've ever carried to orbit on the X-37B," a Boeing executive said. The Space Force is thought to have two X-37Bs, though in the past, that's been part of the mystery.

Sonic booms heralded the X-37B's approach on Saturday, prompting dozens of reports from Floridians before Boeing announced that the mission had been completed successfully, per Florida Today. The spaceplanes are taken to a hangar for processing after landing, then made ready for the next trip. The spacecraft "conducts experiments for government and industry partners," Boeing said. A Space Force statement said adding the service module "allowed us to host more experiments than ever before." (More Space Force stories.)

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