X 37b, NASA

December 3, 2010 by USA Post 

X 37b, (AP) – The U.S. Air Force on the secrecy-shrouded X-37B unmanned spaceplane returned to Earth early Friday after more than seven months in orbit on a secret mission, officials said.

The craft landed wings independently at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the northwest coast of 130 miles of Los Angeles, spokesman Jeremy Eggers Vandenburg said.

“It’s very exciting,” said Eggers landing 1:16 PT.

The X-37B was launched by an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 22, 2010, for a maximum of 270 days of mission.

Also known as the orbiter test, the spacecraft built by Boeing was originally a NASA project before being taken by the military.

The Air Force has not said that this means anything in his bunker, but insists the mission’s main goal was to test the equipment itself.

“We are very pleased that the program has finished all the goals in the first mission to orbit,” program management Lieutenant-Colonel Troy Giese said in a statement.

“Landing today ending a successful mission based on close teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and Air Force Network Office rapidly,” said Giese.

Eggers said the craft is expected to return to space next year.

“I understand they want to do in the spring of 2011,” he told The Associated Press.

Officials have released a general description of the objectives of the mission: testing guidance, navigation, control, thermal protection and operate autonomously in orbit, reentry and landing.

However, the ultimate goal of the X-37B and details are eager craft remained a mystery, though experts said the spacecraft was designed to accelerate the development of combat systems and support systems weapons.

The journey was long and costly journey led project of NASA and the Pentagon’s research arm of development, then the secret of the Air Force Network Office rapidly. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on the X-37, but the total current has not been released.

While the spacecraft were compared to mass-cargo carrying truck, the X-37B is more like a sports car with the trunk capacity equivalent.

Built by Boeing Co.’s Phantom Works, the boat is 11 000 pounds 9 1 / 2 feet tall and just over 29 feet long with a wingspan of less than 15 feet. He has two flukes angle rather than a single vertical stabilizer.

Unlike the shuttle, it was designed to launch a satellite, housed in a shroud atop the Atlas V rocket durable and able to deploy solar panels to provide electricity in orbit.

Copyright © 2010 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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