X-37B lands after 674 days in orbit
The X-37B unmanned space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday. The little spacecraft, about the size of a bizjet with an outsized lifting body fuselage, was in orbit for 674 days but even though the Air Force apparently doesn’t mind us knowing what it looks like, it is not saying what it was doing. This has led to speculation ranging from nuclear weapons capability to some sort of biological experiment. The middle ground seems to suggest that it is a test bed for new technologies and the runway-landing capability is just an economical and safer way of ensuring the gear on board gets back. The Air Force has two of them and is building hangars at the Kennedy Space Centre so they can launch and recover at the same facility.