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Secret Air Force Space Plane Returns Home with a ‘Boom’

The Air Force X-37B space plane landed Sunday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. As the plane descended to the airfield, it created sonic booms that could be heard throughout central Florida.

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The X-37B spend 718 days in orbit on a classified mission.

This was the fourth landing of the military “mini-shuttle” that Air Force officials say is testing several technologies.

“The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold; reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth,” officials said.

The X-37B is the first vehicle since the Space Shuttle to be able to return experiments to Earth for further examination. And the mini-shuttle can stay in orbit for 270 days or more without resupply as it carries no crew. This allows for long-term, zero-gravity and zero-atmosphere research.

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X-37B lands at Kennedy Space CenterOther than the v-tail design, its smaller size and the lack of rear main engines, the X-37B closely resembles the Space Shuttle orbiter.

 

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About Duncan Idaho

Duncan is a science and technology reporter for CDN and serves as the lead geek correspondent. Follow him if you like rockets, mobile tech, video games or ... just about anything nerdy.

One comment

  1. Joseph O'Donnell

    Just what is needed. Could save the taxpayer money.

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