The United States’ robotic spacecraft X-37B will be landing back to earth at the Southern California Air Force Base a few hours from now after nearly two years in space, orbiting Comet. This is its third mission to space; but that’s about all you can know apart from the fact that it arrives back soon.

No one knows why it was launched to space on December 11, 2012 aboard the Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and what is has been doing in space orbiting comets since then. The mysterious mission of the unmanned aircraft in space continues to fuel speculations and conspiracy theories amongst defense analysts, and among everyone in general.

The robotic aircraft can fly itself for millions of years and can stay up perpetually in space orbiting spatial bodies and gathering data for military and defense purposes, but that is all that can be concluded from general observations. Yet, many think the X-37B unmanned aircraft must be a space weapon, and others think it should be a robotic machine to rocket spy gear into orbit, and yet others think it must be a decoy to keep China thinking about something else or to track Iran’s nuclear programs or hard-line terrorists.

To further fuel speculations, the US military is keeping sealed lips on the purpose and objectives of the X-37B unmanned spacecraft in orbit.

Standing tall at 9.5 feet tall and a length of 29 feet long, the mysterious X-37B has a wingspan of almost 15 feet and weighs 11,000 pounds. It’s fueled by solar energy, and its solar panels unfurl once it is launched into space to charge its batteries and keep it orbiting comet or any space bodies.

Whatever its mission had been in space, the US military has been gracious enough to volunteer that the robotic aircraft will touch land at the Vandenberg Air Force Base depending on “technical and weather considerations” on October 16.

6 Responses

  1. Rooster Lohmeyer

    With my telescope I can see it’s been orbiting Uranus.

  2. Adam Knapp

    The plane you’ve pictured is not the X-37, but the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser orbiter, which was designed to be a glider-based alternative to the Orion and Dragon v2 capsules.

    Here’s a picture of the X-37.

  3. Stevie

    “The robotic aircraft can fly itself for millions of years…” If that statement doesn’t say product dependability then nothing will.

    • MaximumOvertroll

      I’d like to know how. The electrical systems are solar powered but thrusters to keep the ship in orbit, change orbit or deorbit must use some fuel and no rechargable battery i know of can last millions of years not even the nonrechargable RTGs nevermind the lifespan of the photovoltaics.

      • larry

        Did you check into ion cores. All of what you’re talking about; would be for emergent maneuvers. So technically; it may stay up/out for many a year.

      • MaximumOvertroll

        Well even ion engines arent indefinite and i doubt we can make any that have a million+ year operational lifespan. Plus, they are terrible for quick orbital manuvers, they rely on accumulated acceleration from very little thrust over a long period of burn.

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