X-37B on the Move

The Air Force’s X-37B experimental spaceplane recently changed orbits for the first time since its launch into space in April, according to world-wide satellite trackers closely following its activities. MSNBC reports that one amateur space watcher from Cape Town, South Africa, first noticed that the Boeing-made reusable space vehicle did not appear where it was supposed to back on Aug. 14. He found it again five days later in a new orbit. It’s not exactly clear what the vehicle is doing in space or why it changed orbits. USAF isn’t talking specifics. On the eve of its launch, Air Force officials said only they primarily wanted to assess the on-orbit performance of the X-37B over an extended period. It can remain in orbit up to 270 days each mission. USAF spokesman Lt. Col. Andy Roake told the Daily Report Wednesday that no date has been established yet for the X-37B’s return to Earth.