The Air Force’s Highly Classified X-37B Returns to Earth After 220 Days In Orbit

Boeing’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle landed autonomously at Vandenberg AFB, California, early this morning (Dec. 3) after spending more that 220 days in orbit. The US Air Force has released this slightly bizarre video of the night landing, taken in infrared

The Air Force is still not saying what the X-37B did on its maiden OTV-1 mission, a degree of secrecy that caused frenzied global speculation about its use – ranging from spy satellite to weapons platform – when the unmanned resuable spaceplane testbed was launched on April 22.

The USAF says the X-37B is being used for “risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies”. It says the first mission achieved all of the on-orbit objectives and the X-37B will now enter refurbishment to prepare for another flight.

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