KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (MAY 07, 2017) (DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE) – The U.S. military’s experimental X-37B space plane landed on Sunday (May 7) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing a classified mission that lasted nearly two years, the Air Force said.
The unmanned X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, touched down at 7:47 a.m. EDT (1147 GMT) on a runway formerly used for landings of the now-mothballed space shuttles, the Air Force said in an email.
The Boeing-built space plane blasted off in May 2015 from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas 5 rocket built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co .
The X-37B, one of two in the Air Force fleet, conducted unspecified experiments for more than 700 days while in orbit. It was the fourth and lengthiest mission so far for the secretive program, managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
The Air Force intends to launch the fifth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of the Kennedy Space Center, later this year.