X-37B spaceplane breaks record, lands after 780 days in orbit (space vehicles)

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EXCERPT: The Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5 successfully landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility Oct. 27, 2019, at 3:51 a.m. The spaceplane conducted on-orbit experiments for 780 days during its mission, recently breaking its own record by being in orbit for more than two years. As of today, the total number of days spent on-orbit for the entire test vehicle program is 2,865 days.

[...] This is the Air Force’s premier reusable and unmanned spacecraft, providing the performance and flexibility to improve technologies in a way that allows scientists and engineers to recover experiments tested in a long-duration space environment. “The safe return of this spacecraft, after breaking its own endurance record, is the result of the innovative partnership between government and industry,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “The sky is no longer the limit for the Air Force and, if Congress approves, the U.S. Space Force.”

The distinctive ability to test new systems in space and return them to Earth is unique to the X-37B program and enables the U.S. to more efficiently and effectively develop space capabilities necessary to maintain superiority in the space domain. (MORE)

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