The X-37B unmanned reusable ship spent 2 years in space and broke a record


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The X-37B unmanned reusable ship spent 2 years in space and broke a record

In the United States, the Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5) mission ended – the fifth mission of the reusable X-37B Air Force reusable drone. The ship landed at Kennedy Space Center after 780 days in orbit. Thus, he broke his previous record of 717 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes, which he set during the fourth mission, which ended in May 2017. In total, during all its missions, the Boeing drone spent 2865 days in orbit.

The fifth mission started in September 2017. The SpaceX rocket, the Falcon 9, sent an autonomous device into space.

"The safe return of this ship after it broke its own endurance record is the result of an innovative partnership between government and industry," General David Goldfein said in a press release from the US Air Force. “The sky is no longer the limit for the Air Force.”

An autonomous spaceship, according to a press release, completed "all mission tasks." However, the US authorities did not disclose what exactly was the essence of these tasks. It was previously stated that the fifth mission should demonstrate "greater opportunities for quick access to space and testing new space technologies in orbit."

They also planned to launch several satellites from the device. In addition, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), during this mission, was supposed to send an Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader (ASETS-II) to the apparatus to test experimental electronics and heat pipes in a long space flight.

At the end of the mission, Air Force officials did not provide details of what was on board the ship. According to Engadget, tests of the temperature distributor took place. In addition, the US Air Force confirmed that “small satellites” were launched from the drone.

A successful fifth mission is not the last for the X-37B. Its sixth launch is due to take place from Cape Canaveral in 2020.

Earlier, U.S. Air Force spokesman Major William Russell noted that the fifth mission of the X-37B did not have a specific end date, but it was originally designed to be in orbit for only 240 days.

The program to create and launch autonomous spacecraft Boeing X-37 began in the United States in 1999. According to Space.com, two unmanned vehicles were built. In 2004, NASA transferred the project to the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA), after which the program began to lead the Air Force. The first X-37B went to space in April 2010. He returned to Earth about 8 months later, having spent 225 days in orbit.

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