This is the fifth mission of the X-37B Space Plan, an uncrewed and solar-powered military drone , The Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5) launched on September 7, 2017, with the help of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
On the fourth mission – Orbital Test Vehicle 4 (OTV-4) – it remains in orbit for 717 days, 20 hours, and 42 minutes, which has now surpassed, with no details yet on the mission may end.
The fourth flight of the vehicle, landing smoothly.
The mission objectives of the space plan – similar in design to NASA's space shuttles – have remained a closely guarded secret. The Air Force is tight-lipped about the plane, leaving people to speculate it's doing anything from putting spy satellites into orbit to testing out at EmDrive in space.
Do not get your
When the craft launched, conspiracy theorists suggested it could be a "space bomber" The theory is quickly quashed by experts, who points out how to change a spacecraft's orbital plans to do a lot of thrust. Essentially it would be useless at hitting any targets that did not happen on its flight path.
Another theory from Spaceflight magazine is that it's a spy plane.
"Space-to-space surveillance is a whole This week, the BBC News back in 2012, though. "Spaceflight editor Dr David Baker told BBC News back in 2012, though
As fun as those explanations are, they are unlikely.
"The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is an experimental test program for demonstrating technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the United States US Air Force, "the Air Force said in a statement.
"The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold; reusable spacecraft technologies for America's Future in Space and Operating Experiences which can be returned to and reviewed on Earth.
" guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high-temperature structures and seals, conformally reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, advanced propulsion systems, advanced materials and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing. "