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Top secret US military plane passes 900 days in orbit while on mystery mission

The United States military X-37B plane that was launched from Earth in 2020 has recently passed 900 days in orbit while on its mysterious mission.

Top secret US military plane passes 900 days in orbit while on mystery mission
Published Nov 7, 2022 1:04 AM CST   |   Updated Wed, Nov 30 2022 8:35 PM CST
2 minutes & 9 seconds read time

One of the most secretive missions under the US military has recently reached a milestone, as the X-37B plane hit 900 days in orbit.

X-37B space plane

X-37B space plane

The elusive X-37B space plane was originally launched on May 17, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, and recently the space plane managed to pass 900 days in orbit while carrying its experimental payload. Notably, the mission currently doesn't have a public end date announcement, which means the X-37B may just keep on flying around Earth until it simply just isn't possible anymore - whenever that will be.

Furthermore, this particular X-37B robotic space plan is technically called Orbital Test Vehicle 6, or OTV-6. Space.com reports that OTV-6 successfully deployed the small satellite called FalconSat-8, which was developed by the US Air Force Academy, while also currently hosting two NASA experiments aimed at testing radiation impact on seeds used to grow food.

Those aren't the only experiments aboard OTV-6 as the US Naval Research Laboratory also has an experiment onboard, which is a new piece of technology called the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module, which is designed to convert solar power into radio frequency microwave energy.

The OTV-6 undoubtedly has many other experiments aboard, but considering the mostly classified nature of the X-37B program, the public isn't at liberty to find out what those experiments entail or why they are being tested over such a long flight. However, what is known is that the X-37B program tests advanced aviation systems such as guidance control, navigation, thermal protection, high temperatures, seals, electromechanical flight systems, autonomous orbital flight systems, reentry to Earth, and much more.

For those wondering about previous OTV missions, the first was launched on April 22, 2010, and landed on December 3, 2010, spending 224 days in orbit. OTV-2 launched on March 5, 2011, and landed on June 16, 2012, reaching 468 days in orbit. OTV-3 launched on December 11, 2012, and landed on October 17, 2014, hitting 674 days in orbit. OTV-4 launched on May 20, 2015, and landed on May 7, 2015, reaching 718 days in orbit. OTV-5 launched on September 2017 and landed on October 27, 2019, spending 780 days in orbit.

OTV-6 may very well reach 1,000 days in orbit. No one really knows.

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NEWS SOURCE:space.com

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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