The mysterious Boeing X-37B spent more than 900 days in orbit, a record

For the sixth time, the US Air Force’s secret aircraft, the X37B built by Boeing, outperforms its own aircraft record time in orbit, On this occasion, the wall of 900 days has been breached. Compared to the previous record of 780 days completed in 2019, the last OTV-6 mission reached 908 days and during last Friday 12th November it returned to Earth. The landing occurred at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida when it was 11.22 a.m. in Italy.

Like previous occasions, there are not many details and both Boeing, the manufacturer, and the Air Force which is the contractor, maintain strict secrecy about mission objectives and the aircraft itself, however some constructive news has been shared for the mysterious aircraft. The main is definitely an introduction Unprecedented service modelAs stated by Jim Shelton, Boeing’s senior vice president of space and launch.

“With the addition of the service module, this is the most we have brought into orbit on the X-37B and we are proud to be able to test this new, flexible capability for the government and its industrial partners.

Too few unfortunately, but this small plane attracts the curiosity of many aficionados of aviation technology given the secretive nature that surrounds it. At first glance It might look a lot like NASA’s famous space shuttlebut it’s actually smaller. The X-37B has a total of 8.8 meters, versus 37 of the Space Shuttle, but there is another fundamental difference between the two planes. Boeing X-37B similar to a drone, since completely independent.

Beyond that, we only know how much NASA and the Air Force are involved in the rare occasions they have talked about. Touted as a test platform for long-duration payloads in a space environment, the problem is that these are rated payloads and we don’t know exactly what was tested, although we do have some additional details for the last mission. Among the novelties of the OTV-6, we know that it was introduced Unprecedented RF Voltage Moduleie designed for Converting solar energy into microwaves, which can then be transmitted to Earth. In addition, there was also a USAF satellite FalconSat-8 on board, its use is still shrouded in mystery but we know that it was put into orbit in October 2021.

Finally, there were also some on board Experimental technologies from NASA, for example regarding the effect of radiation on plants and materials when exposure continues for months and months. This is the sixth OTV mission to complete since 2010, so let’s see the sequence of the best plane crash characters, as I mentioned before

  • OTV-1: It was launched on April 22, 2010 and landed on December 3, 2010 (duration 224 days).
  • OTV-2: From March 5, 2011 to June 16, 2012 (468 days).
  • OTV-3: From December 11, 2012 to October 17, 2014 (674 days).
  • OTV-4: From May 20, 2015 to May 7, 2015 (718 days).
  • OTV-5: From September 7, 2017 to October 27, 2019 (780 days).
  • OTV-6: From May 17, 2020 to November 12, 2022 (908 days).

We can’t talk about time records in orbit in the broad sense, as there are satellites that have pretty much dropped these numbers by working in orbit for more than a decade, and even if we’re talking about probes, planes or space stations, we have examples like the ISS, or Voyager probes , which is certainly inaccessible if included in this context.

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