The Mysterious X-37B Military Space Plan has been Orbiting for almost one year

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The U.S. Air Force has launched a miniature space plane into orbit almost a year ago. The X-37B has been orbiting for 340 days while it performed covert duties, being part of the program’s fifth flight.

The mission

This robotic craft has carried its latest mission with success. On September 7th, 2017, the Orbital Test Vehicle-5, or OTV-5, was officially launched via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Of course, being an Air Force mission, we didn’t get many words from the officials. What we do know, however, is that one of the payloads on board of the X-37B is represented by the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader, or ASETS-II. This cargo was developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and it is in charge of testing the oscillating heat pipes for pre-established, long durations in the void represented by space.

Making history

The classified program consists of a fleet made by two reusable spacecrafts which were built by Boeing. This vehicle looks like a miniature of a former space shuttle orbiter which NASA just recently retired. The X-37B measures 29 feet in its length and its wingspan is approximately 15 feet.

Its payload bay has enough space, as you would find on a pickup-truck bed. Also, the bay can incorporate a robotic arm. The plane weighs 11000 pounds and it is powered by gallium-arsenide solar cells and lithium-ion batteries.

We don’t yet know exactly how long will this covert plane will remain aloft. When its mission will be over it will most definitely land at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility, as the previous model, OTV-4 did when it ended its mission on May 7, 2017.


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