16 May 2012
Boeing space plane 'spectacular success'
Boeing’s unmanned space plane has been in orbit for more than five months longer than originally expected and is earning praise from the Air Force. As reported by Fox News, General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, said that the Air Force is very happy with the X-37B, but he would not say what its top-secret mission is.
“Our second X-37 test vehicle has been on orbit for 409 days now; much longer than the 270-day baseline design specifications,” General Shelton said. “Although I can’t talk about mission specifics, suffice it to say this mission has been a spectacular success.”The vehicle was originally scheduled to land in December at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, but the Air Force extended its flight. It is designed to stay in orbit for 270 days, which is much longer than a manned space shuttle. The first space plane was launched in 2010, and it stayed in space for 224 days. Scheduled to be re-used in the autumn, the X-37B is only 29ft long.