Image Source: Kemon01, Flikr

After having spent over a year in space, the United States Air Force’s secret X-37B spacecraft will be coming in for a landing sometime in the next few weeks. The miniature spaceplane, which looks like a 30 foot long Space Shuttle with angled fins and a bulbous rear-end, has apparently performed exceedingly well in its mission — except what that mission is remains a secret.

Originally launched on March 5, 2011, the X-37B is expected to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California around early to mid June. In a release, the 30th Space Wing said that they would be monitoring the automated landing of the craft as it returns from orbit pending “technical and weather considerations.” This is the second orbital mission for the X-37B, and the first for this particular vehicle. The first mission was launched on April 22, 2010 and lasted until December 3 of that year.

So far, all anyone will say about this mission is that it was meant to test “space technologies.” During its time in space, the Pentagon has denied that the spaceplane is being used to develop orbital weapons, and claims that it was being used to spy on China’s Tiangong-1 space station were refuted. It’s possible that the Air Force is still testing the craft, though the craft’s long duration missions and re-usability would make it an excellent spy craft.

Read more at source: Max Eddy,

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