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The U.S. Air Force's X-37B military space plane has now been circling Earth for 700 days, just a few weeks shy of the vehicle's spaceflight-duration record.
The robotic X-37B launched on its fifth and latest mission, known as Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5), on Sept. 7, 2017. And the reusable spacecraft, which looks like a miniature version of NASA's space shuttle, has been zipping around our planet ever since.
X-37B - Topic - Speculation - Spacecraft - Missions
Exactly what the X-37B is doing up there remains a topic of much speculation; the solar-powered spacecraft's missions, and most of its payloads, remain classified. The Air Force tends to talk about the X-37B program in general terms, stressing that the space plane tests technologies for future reusable spacecraft and takes experiments up to space and back.
We do know a few details about OTV-5, however. For example, Air Force officials have revealed that its payloads include the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader experiment (ASETS-II), which is measuring how oscillating heat pipes and certain electronics perform in the space environment.
Air - Force - Vehicles - Built
The Air Force has at least two X-37B vehicles, both of which were built...
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