X-37B Spaceplane Still on Orbit

Contrary to new speculation, the Air Force says its X-37B orbital test vehicle remains in space. “The X-37B mission is still ongoing,” Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Tracy Bunko told the Daily Report Tuesday. She added, “No landing date has been scheduled.” The Air Force placed the autonomous, reusable spaceplane into orbit in mid-April on its maiden mission in order to evaluate the vehicle’s on-orbit performance and validate technologies required for long-duration missions. The X-37 can stay in space for up to 270 days, meaning it potentially has nearly 100 more days before it has to return to Earth. In July, satellite spotters noticed that the X-37B had apparently deviated from its initial orbit. It took a while for them to locate it in another position. The vehicle has reportedly gone missing again, leading to speculation this week that it might have landed, reports Fox News.