Air Force’s mystery space plane lands, ends 2-year mission

National

In this Oct. 27, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force’s X-37B successfully lands at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Merritt Island in Brevard County, Fla., following a record-breaking two-year mission. (U.S. Air Force via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Air Force’s mystery space plane is back on Earth, following a record-breaking two-year mission.

The X-37B landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Sunday. The Air Force is mum about what the plane did in orbit after launching aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2017. The 780-day mission sets a new endurance record for the reusable test vehicle.

It looks like a space shuttle but is one-fourth the size at 29 feet.

Officials say this latest mission successfully completed its objectives. Experiments from the Air Force Research Laboratory were aboard.

This was the fifth spaceflight by a vehicle of this sort. No. 6 is planned next year with another launch from Cape Canaveral. According to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, “Each successive mission advances our nation’s space capabilities.”

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