US space drone returns to Earth after 908 days in orbit
After spending nearly two and a half years in orbit, a U.S. military space drone landed at the Cape Canaveral base in Florida on Saturday. The aircraft manufacturer Boeing welcomed this record for an unmanned shuttle.
The unmanned shuttle X-37B, whose first flight took place in 2010, spent a total of more than ten years in space during the six missions accomplished, underlined the American aircraft manufacturer in a press release.
It “continues to break records and provides our country with an unparalleled ability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said Boeing Space Vice President Jim Chilton.
Project launched in the greatest secrecy
Launched in the greatest secrecy, the X-37B space drone was designed for the United States Air Force by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It is nine meters long, has a wingspan of 4.5 meters and is powered by solar panels.
The Pentagon had lifted the veil on its objectives before its last launch, in May 2020, by evoking a whole series of scientific experiments.
The mission was to test the reactions of certain materials in space, evaluate the effects of ambient radiation in space on a series of seeds, and convert solar radiation into radioelectric energy, the army said.