The US Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after 780 days in orbit.
The US Air Force say that the spaceplane conducted on-orbit experiments for 780 days during its mission, recently breaking its own record by being in orbit for more than two years. As of today, the total number of days spent on-orbit for the entire test vehicle program is 2,865 days.
“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in a release.
“This program continues to push the envelope as the world’s only reusable space vehicle. With a successful landing today, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and successfully completed all mission objectives,” said Randy Walden, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director.
“This mission successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments, among others, as well as providing a ride for small satellites.”
While the complete payload for OTV-5 is unknown, the US Air Force announced that one experiment flying is the ‘Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader II’, which apparently measures the performance of an oscillating heat pipe.