X-37B Marks One Year on Orbit

The Air Force’s second X-37B experimental spaceplane, OTV-2, this week eclipsed one full year on orbit and continues to perform well, said service officials. “We are very pleased with the results of the ongoing X-37B experiments,” said Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, X-37 program director in the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. He added that the X-37 program “has returned great value” on the investment. OTV-2, he said, will return to Earth when all “objectives” have been completed. Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Tracy Bunko told the Daily Report that no landing date has been set and that service officials regularly evaluate the prospective landing date based on the test objectives. Launched into space on March 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., the Air Force has not disclosed the spaceplane’s orbital activities or the payloads that it carried into space in its internal bay. Service officials already are preparing for the third X-37B orbital mission this fall when the first X-37 spaceplane, OTV-1, makes its second journey into space.