Sunday, October 12, 2014

Secretive U.S. robotic mini shuttle to end 22 month mission on Tuesday

The U.S. military plans to land its secretive X-37B robotic space
plane in California on Tuesday, ending a classified 22- month
mission, officials said.
The exact time and date will depend on weather and technical
factors, the Air Force said in a statement released on Friday.

The X-37B space plane, also known as
the Orbital Test Vehicle, blasted off for its second mission aboard an
unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 11, 2012. Shuttles

The 29-foot-long (9-meter) robotic spaceship, which
resembles a miniature
space shuttle, is an
experimental vehicle
that first flew in April 2010. It returned after eight months. A
second vehicle blasted off in March 2011 and stayed in orbit for 15

The military has said the vehicles, built by Boeing, are designed to
test technologies, though details of the missions are classified.
Last week, the Air Force and NASA
finalized a lease agreement to relocate the X-37B program from California to
Florida's Kennedy
Space Center.

The military is
studying using the space shuttle's runway for landing, but said the
X-37B currently in orbit will
touch down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,
where the previous two missions also

Source: Reuters

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