The mysterious X-37B Space Plane’s mission, whatever it was, is complete and the unmanned spacecraft is expected to land this weekend. The Air Force said that they are currently monitoring the weather to make sure that it is safe for the plan to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Jeremy Eggers, a spokesperson for Vandenberg, told Space.com:
“We continue to monitor weather and technical conditions day by day to ensure conditions are safe for landing…. At this time, the next available opportunity is Saturday, dependent upon weather and technical conditions. The landing window extends through June 18.”
Fox News reports that the X-37B space plane spent 15 months in space on a secretive mission. The plane was only scheduled to spend less than a year in space but because it performed so well the Air Force decided to extend its mission.
When the X-37B reached the one year milestone, Air Force Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said:
“We are very pleased with the results of ongoing X-37B experiments. The X-37B program is setting the standard for a reusable space plane and, on this one-year orbital milestone, has returned great value on the experimental investment.”
Rumors have often circulated about the mysterious space plane. Some say that the plane is being used to spy on China while others say that it has to do with some sort of secret space weapon. Air Force officials, however, say that the plane is merely testing new space techniques. The Air Force said previously:
”The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is a non-operational system that will demonstrate a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force. The objectives of the OTV program include space experimentation, risk reduction and a concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.”