Unmanned solar-powered US spacecraft returns after 908 days

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) — The unmanned U.S. military spacecraft landed early Saturday morning after spending a record 908 days in orbit and performing science experiments on its sixth mission.

A solar-powered vehicle that looks like a small space shuttle has landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Last mission he lasted 780 days.

“Since the X-37B’s first launch in 2010, the X-37B has broken records and provided our country with an unparalleled ability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said developer Boeing. said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of

For the first time, spaceplanes hosted service modules conducting experiments at the Naval Research Laboratory, the United States Air Force Academy, and others. To ensure a safe landing, the module was separated from the vehicle before leaving orbit.

Among the experiments was a satellite called FalconSat-8. It was designed and manufactured by Academy cadets in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory. Deployed in October 2021 and still in orbit.

Another experiment evaluated the effects of prolonged space exposure on seeds.

“This mission underscores the Space Force’s focus on cooperating in space exploration and expanding low-cost access to space for partners inside and outside the Air Force,” said the Space Operations Director. said General Chance Saltzman of

The X-37Be has now flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a total of 3,774 days in space.