U.S. Air Force X-37B
X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
The X-37B is designed to be launched vertically, on top of an expendable launch vehicle. All missions conducted so far have flown on Atlas 5 rockets (right). After conducting it mission on orbit, the spacecraft performs a de-orbit burn and returns to a gliding runway landing on Earth.
The spacecraft can remain in orbit for many months. The first mission stayed in orbit for 224 days, while the second flight spent 468 days in space.
Many details of the program remain classified. Publicly announced objectives include testing technologies for reusable spacecraft designs and conducting experiments in orbit and returning those experiments and results to Earth.
The X-37B is built by the Boeing company.
|22 Apr 2010
|3 Dec 2010
|5 Mar 2011
|16 Jun 2012
|11 Dec 2012