The X 37B unmanned space plane of the US Air Force has landed back on the earth this Sunday after making a record of 780 days in the orbit accomplishing the 5th ultra-long mission of mini-shuttle fleet of the military. The officials of the Air Force has said that the Orbital Test vehicle 5(OTV-5) of the X-37 B ended with autonomous smooth touch down at the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida at about 0751 GMT.
Falcon 9 rocket of Space X was used for the launch of the mission on the 7 of September 2017. The previous record was 718 days which was set by the OTV-4 mission in the year 2017 and the current successful landing of OTV-5 has broken this record. OTV-5 is the second of the missions of X-37B to have landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility of the NASA. Previously the missions landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
In his statement, David L. Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. said that the innovative partnership between the industry and the government has resulted in the safe return of the spacecraft after breaking its own record. He said that the sky is no more a limit for Air Force and for the US Space Force if it is approved by the Congress. There are two reusable spacecrafts of X-37 B in fleet for the US Air Force and multiple flights have been made by both of them. Barbara Barrett, the Secretary of the Air Force said that the space capabilities of the nation are advanced with each successive mission.
NASA developed the space plane X-37B in the year 1999 for serving as a test bed for technology for the future spacecrafts and was similar to a space shuttle’s miniature version. The project was then taken over by the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) in the year 2004. OTV-1 was launched in the April of 2010 and had stayed 224 days in the orbit, OTV-2 in March of 2011 and had spent 468 days in orbit, OTV-3 was launched in the December of 2012 and stayed for 674 days and OTV-5 mission was launched on the May of 2015