The Space Force’s X-37B spaceplane returns to Earth after over two years in space
The Space Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane landed back on Earth after spending a record-breaking two and a half years (908 days) in orbit.
It landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, November 12th at 5:22AM ET, marking its sixth successful mission so far.
While the agency is pretty tight-lipped as to what exactly the Boeing-built spaceplane does, it did reveal that it deployed the FalconSat-8 developed by the US Air Force Academy in October 2021.
This small satellite carried five experimental payloads and is still in orbit now.
It hosted the Naval Research Laboratory’s photovoltaic radiofrequency antenna module as well, which is designed to convert solar rays into microwave energy and “transmit power to the ground.”
Some other experiments on board the spaceplane this time around included one from NASA that tested space exposure on seeds to help “inform space crop production for future interplanetary missions and ...
...the establishment of permanently inhabited bases in space.” Another experiment tested the effect of space radiation on various materials, which NASA will then compare to materials here on Earth.