The Boeing X-37B returned to Earth after 780 days in orbit

The US Air Force Boeing X-37B broke its own record, remaining in orbit for 780 days (2 years and 2 months). The spacecraft thus completed its fifth mission, far exceeding the 240 days originally expected from the reusable craft. As for the extremely secret mission it performed, it remained a secret and the only thing USAF announced was that all parameters of the mission were fulfilled.

However, this is not the end of the X-37B OTV (Orbital Test Vehicle), as a sixth mission is expected in 2020. Overall, the X-37B has remained in space for 2,865 days.

The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable space plane. Each successive mission increases the potential of our nation in space. The safe return of the boat, having broken its own record of endurance, is the result of innovative cooperation between government and industry. The sky is no longer the limit for the Air Force and – if Congress approves – for the US Space Force.

The X-37B was originally developed by NASA in 1999 as a space technology test platform and looks like a miniature space shuttle. It is 8.8 meters long, 2.9 meters high and wing opening 4.6 meters. The load that it can carry is 2.1×1.2m. In 2004, DARPA took over the project, eventually delivering it to the Air Force a few years later.