The American space glider X-37B has landed on Earth after more than two years in space. The aircraft built by Boeing has broken several records.
The U.S. space shuttle X-37B is back on solid ground after more than two years in orbit. That has been announced by manufacturer Boeing. The plane landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and successfully completed its sixth mission.
What military tasks the space glider has mastered in space is not known. Boeing built the aircraft for the Space Force, part of the US Department of Defense.
So much: The experiments conducted in space included a solar energy experiment developed by the Naval Research Lab. According to the tech magazine The Verge, this is an attempt to convert the sun’s rays into microwave energy and send it to Earth as electricity.
NASA science experiments
In addition, a satellite from the US Air Force Academy military facility would have been exposed during the 2021 mission, as NASA reports. The satellite, called FalconSat-8, is still in orbit.
In addition, NASA would have investigated the effects of vehicle conditions on seeds on the space glider. The experiment is for research into future interplanetary missions and the establishment of permanent bases in space, Boeing said.
With its flight, the X-37B set several records at once. With 908 flight days, it is the space glider with the longest time in space. The previous record was 780 days in orbit, also set by X-37B.
Service module to extend payloads
In addition, the reusable spacecraft has flown more than 2 billion kilometers and spent 3,774 days in space. This is also a record for such a glider.
According to Boeing, for the first time there was a service module on board the aircraft to increase the number of payloads that can be carried in the space glider. The module was detached before entering Earth’s atmosphere to “ensure a safe and successful landing,” Boeing writes.
The X-37B spaceplane looked like a smaller version of NASA’s space shuttle and first flew into space in 2010. During its penultimate mission, the space shuttle launched several small satellites and returned in 2019 after 780 days.