Secret US military vehicle lands after 900 days, but what was it doing?

A secret space plane that's operated by the United States Space Force (USSF) has landed back on Earth after being in Earth's orbit for more than 900 days.

Secret US military vehicle lands after 900 days, but what was it doing?
Published Nov 22, 2022 12:01 AM CST
1 minute & 9 seconds read time

A top secret US military plane has passed a record number of days in Earth's orbit while on its mysterious mission.

Secret US military vehicle lands after 900 days, but what was it doing? 06

The X-37B space plane took off from Earth on May 17, 2020, and according to reports, the US military's top-secret vehicle successfully landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, November 12, completing a record 908 days in orbit. The vehicle named Orbital Test Vehicle-6 (OTV-6) is an unnamed space plane that is operated by the US Space Force, which placed several classified experiments aboard the vehicle as well as some that are known to the public.

One of those experiments is the Naval Research Laboratory's Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module, which is an experiment designed to harness solar rays outside of Earth's atmosphere and transmit power back down to Earth's surface in radio frequency microwave energy. This experiment was proven successful. Another publicly known experiment is the US Air Force Academy's FalconSat-8, which was deployed by OTV-6 in October 2021 and is still available for use today.

Secret US military vehicle lands after 900 days, but what was it doing? 01

"The X-37B continues to push the boundaries of experimentation, enabled by an elite government and industry team behind the scenes. The ability to conduct on-orbit experiments and bring them home safely for in-depth analysis on the ground has proven valuable for the Department of the Air Force and scientific community. The addition of the service module on OTV-6 allowed us to host more experiments than ever before," said Lt. Col. Joseph Fritschen, DAF Rapid Capabilities Office's X-37B Program Director.

Furthermore, NASA placed many experiments within OTV-6, some of which are to investigate the effect of microgravity on seeds, which will pave the way forward for growing crops off-Earth.

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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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