Quantcast
Connect with us

Unmanned US Air Force space plane lands after secret, two-year mission

Published

on

The U.S. military’s experimental X-37B space plane landed on Sunday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing a classified mission that lasted nearly two years, the Air Force said.

The unmanned X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, touched down at 7:47 a.m. EDT (1147 GMT) on a runway formerly used for landings of the now-mothballed space shuttles, the Air Force said in an email.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Boeing-built space plane blasted off in May 2015 from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas 5 rocket built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co .

The X-37B, one of two in the Air Force fleet, conducted unspecified experiments for more than 700 days while in orbit. It was the fourth and lengthiest mission so far for the secretive program, managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

The orbiters “perform risk reduction, experimentation and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies,” the Air Force has said without providing details. The cost of the program is also classified.

The Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit group promoting the peaceful exploration of space, says the secrecy surrounding the X-37B suggests the presence of intelligence-related hardware being tested or evaluated aboard the craft.

The vehicles are 29 feet (9 meters) long and have a wingspan of 15 feet, making them about one quarter of the size of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s now-retired space shuttles.

ADVERTISEMENT

The X-37B, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, first flew in April 2010 and returned after eight months. A second mission launched in March 2011 and lasted 15 months, while a third took flight in December 2012 and returned after 22 months.

Sunday’s landing was the X-37B’s first in Florida. The three previous landings took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Air Force relocated the program in 2014, taking over two of NASA’s former shuttle-processing hangars.

The Air Force intends to launch the fifth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of the Kennedy Space Center, later this year.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

These 14 widely-believed ‘facts’ are completely untrue

Published

on

Life is full of commonly believed myths and people’s behavior is often guided by those truisms. But are they true? Some are, but many are as false as the idea that tax breaks magically create jobs.

Here are 14 common beliefs that turn out to be fiction; and five more that scientists have discovered are surprisingly true.

1. Talking on your cell phone will give you cancer.

There has been lots of talk over the years about how the radiation from cell phones may be causing brain tumors. As it turns out, not so much. An annual report from the Presidents Cancer Panel found no evidence to support the link between cell phones and malignancies. In fact, while talking on cell phones has increased by sixfold since 1991, the number of brain cancer incidences has actually dropped by half.

Continue Reading

Facebook

George P. Bush failed to disclose financial interests in nearly a dozen companies

Published

on

After the Texas Ethics Commission received a sworn complaint about the omissions, Bush told The Texas Tribune last week that he took immediate steps to correct his disclosure forms.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush failed to disclose his ties to at least 11 companies, including a Cayman Islands-based oil and gas firm that did business with a state fund he helps oversee, records obtained by The Texas Tribune show.

Arabella Exploration, which declared bankruptcy in 2017, put Bush on its board in January 2014, paid him $43,000 for his service and granted him stock options that were valued at over $100,000, regulatory filings show. The next year, a few months into his new job as land commissioner — and about a year after he left the Arabella board — the School Land Board, which Bush chairs, approved a lease agreement with Arabella for oil and gas exploration in West Texas, records show.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

The Trump administration knew migrant children would suffer from family separations. The government ramped up the practice anyway.

Published

on

migrant children walking in a line

Internal emails and reports illustrate a chaotic attempt to track traumatized migrant children seized from parents.

This story was published in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity.

Newly obtained government documents show how the Trump administration’s now-blocked policy to separate all migrant children from parents led social workers to frantically begin tracking thousands of children seized at the southern border and compile reports on cases of trauma.

Continue Reading