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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.

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.

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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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.

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