Solar-powered space plane returns to Earth



An unmanned U.S. navy space plane landed early Saturday after spending a file 908 days in orbit for its sixth mission and conducting science experiments.

The solar-powered car, which appears to be like like a miniature space shuttle, landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Its earlier mission lasted 780 days.

“Since the X-37B’s first launch in 2010, it has shattered information and offered our nation with an unequalled functionality to quickly check and combine new space applied sciences,” mentioned Jim Chilton, a senior vp for Boeing, its developer.

For the primary time, the space plane hosted a service module that carried experiments for the Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Air Force Academy and others. The module separated from the car earlier than de-orbiting to guarantee a protected touchdown.

Among the experiments was a satellite tv for pc dubbed the FalconSat-8 that was designed and constructed by academy cadets in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory. It was deployed in October 2021 and nonetheless stays in orbit.

Another experiment evaluated the results of long-duration space publicity on seeds.

“This mission highlights the Space Force’s concentrate on collaboration in space exploration and increasing low-cost entry to space for our companions, inside and outdoors of the Department of the Air Force,” mentioned Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations.

The X-37Be has now flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a complete of three,774 days in space.


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