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The Space Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane landed back on Earth after spending a record-breaking two and a half years (908 days) in orbit. It landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, November 12th at 5:22AM ET, marking its sixth successful mission so far.

While the agency is pretty tight-lipped as to what exactly the Boeing-built spaceplane does, it did reveal that it deployed the FalconSat-8 developed by the US Air Force Academy in October 2021. This small satellite carried five experimental payloads and is still in orbit now. It hosted the Naval Research Laboratory’s photovoltaic radiofrequency antenna module as well, which is designed to convert solar rays into microwave energy and “transmit power to the ground.”

The spaceplane, which looks like a smaller version of NASA’s Space Shuttle, first took flight in 2010, and we haven’t learned much about its purpose since. Prior to this mission, the X-37B carried a small number of satellites into space, making its return in 2019 after 780 days.

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https://duet-cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/0x0:6240x4160/640x427/filters:focal(3120x2080:3121x2081):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/24193421/air_force_x_37b_spaceplane.jpegThe X-37B came back to Earth on November 12th at 5:22AM ET.Image: Space Force

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/13/23456718/space-force-x-37b-spaceplane-returns-two-years-falconsat-8

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