X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle lands at Vandenberg AFB
About photo: VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel in self-contained atmospheric protective ensemble suits conduct initial checks on the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1), the U.S. Air Force's first unmanned re-entry spacecraft, after its landing here on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. The X-37B OTV-1 conducted on-orbit experiments for more than 220 days during its maiden voyage.
U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Stonecypher
From the Vandenberg Air Force Base Website
30th Space Wing Public Affairs
12/3/2010 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The U.S. Air Force's first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1:16 a.m. today.
The X-37B, named Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1), conducted on-orbit experiments for more than 220 days during its maiden voyage. It fired its orbital maneuver engine in low-earth orbit to perform an autonomous reentry before landing.
The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO), the X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.
"Today's landing culminates a successful mission based on close teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office," said Lt Col Troy Giese, X-37B program manager from the AFRCO. "We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission."
OTV-1's de-orbit and landing mark the transition from the on-orbit demonstration phase to a refurbishment phase for the program.
The Air Force is preparing to launch the next X-37B, OTV-2, in Spring 2011 aboard an Atlas V booster.
Star Wars 2010: Secret X-37B -
The Phantom Menace?
About this video: The X-37B unmanned spacecraft, a secretive US military project, landed on December 3rd at a California airbase after a successful seven month flight. The US Air Force claimed the flight was a test flight, used to measure the effectiveness of the craft. However, all of its activities while in orbit were classified. Officials explained the mission objectives as; guidance, navigation, control, thermal, autonomous operation, re-entry and landing tests. Due to the vague nature of the flight description, some have come to believe the craft was designed for spying or other military purposes; possibly leading to the militarization of space. Robert Bowman, the former director for Advanced Space Programs Development at the US Air Force said, the program is secret so potential adversaries are not aware of the exact nature of the program.
This news video/info posted on YouTube by RussiaToday
Read Boeing’s Dec. 3rd News Release HERE
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