Secretive Air Force X-37B Robotic Space Plane May Be Nearing Mission’s End
A U.S. Air Force robotic space plane continues to maneuver in Earth orbit, according to the latest observations from skywatchers. The reusable space drone has been carrying out tasks using a suite of classified sensors and may be nearing its mission’s end, according to comments from Air Force officials.
The spacecraft is the Air Force’s X-37B space plane, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 1, which launched on its maiden flight on April 22 atop an Atlas 5 rocket.
The winged orbiter’s mission has been shrouded in secrecy, but Air Force officials have said it was built for 270-day spaceflights, suggesting that it may be in the flight homestretch and preparing to make an atmospheric re-entry and landing – all on autopilot.