The X-37B — America’s spy space drone — has landed safely after a record-setting orbit of 675 days. While this was expected, that doesn’t make it any less incredible. The fact that this spacecraft has been in orbit for almost two years and has returned to Earth intact is an amazing technological feat.
The spacecraft landed today at 9.24am at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after carrying various “on-orbit experiments”.
Nobody knows what these orbital experiments are. Her missions and actual capabilities are classified. Speculation ranges from capture, refuel, and repair of spy satellites using robotic gear to actual spy missions of rival space powers to testing of advanced spy gear directed at Earth. For all we know, it may as well be a weapons testing platform.
X-37B being mounted in its launch pod.