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Secret US Military Space Drone Returns to Earth After Record Two And A Half Years in Orbit

Tuesday 15 November 2022
Secret US Military Space Drone Returns to Earth After Record Two And A Half Years in Orbit

The US military’s autonomous space drone, long shrouded in mystery, returned to Earth this weekend following what Boeing described as a record-breaking flight.

The US military’s secretive X-37B space drone touched down on Saturday following a nearly two and a half year deployment, Boeing announced this week. The 908 days in orbit was a record for the spacecraft, reportedly exceeding its previous longest streak by around four months.

A news release published by the manufacturer of the autonomous drone widely suspected to be involved in intelligence collection indicates its payload this time “included a solar energy experiment designed by the Naval Research Lab, as well as a satellite designed and built by cadets at the US Air Force Academy” – a reference to the so-called “FalconSat-8,” a small satellite reportedly intended to test an electromagnetic propulsion system.

Another experiment supposedly undertaken by equipment onboard the X-37B includes technology intended to deliver solar power to the ground from space via microwave energy working by radio frequency.

Per Defense News, a livestream of the 2020 launch “cut out” following the “separation of the rocket’s first stage” from the rest of the craft, “due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the capabilities of the X-37B".

"It’s a classified mission, and what is classified about it is the details of the vehicle itself, the mission it will do on orbit and where it will do that,” explained Tony Bruno, the CEO of United Launch Alliance, the spacecraft launch service jointly owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

"Therefore we have to stop the live broadcast so that we do not make it easy for adversaries to figure those things out by having that much data about the flight and deployment,” he reportedly told the outlet at the time.

The mystery project saw its sixth and most recent mission begin on May 17, 2020.

 

Source: Media

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Military US Space Drone

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