Over the weekend, residents across central Florida reported hearing what some described as an early-morning “sonic boom” and the U.S. Air Force soon thereafter revealed what made the mysterious sound: The landing of a super-secret unmanned mini-space shuttle, otherwise known as the X37B.
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) May 7, 2017
Prior to the craft’s successful landing Sunday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, the X37B had remained in orbit for more than 700 days, originally launching in May 2015.
It was the fourth such launch for the operation, which still remains rather hush-hush, with the previous mission staying in orbit for less than 675 days before touching down in California. A fifth mission is scheduled for launch later this year.
“Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing as we continue to break barriers,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, the 45th SW commander. “Our team has been preparing for this event for several years, and I am extremely proud to see our hard work and dedication culminate in today’s safe and successful landing of the X-37B.”
The mini space craft works similar to its larger manned counterpart, other than the fact they’re operated remotely.
[ Florida Today ]