That enigmatic U.S. army X-37B robot area drone has now chalked up greater than 500 days circling the Earth.
The Orbital Take a look at Automobile (OTV-6) is also known as USSF-7 for the U.S. House Drive and introduced Would possibly 17, 2020, on an Atlas V 501 booster.
OTV-6 is the primary to make use of a carrier module to host experiments. The carrier module is an attachment to the aft of the automobile that permits further experimental payload capacity to be carried to orbit.
Similar: America House Drive’s secretive X-37B area aircraft: 10 unexpected info
Number one time table: categorised
Whilst the Boeing-built robot area aircraft’s on-orbit number one time table is classed, a few of its onboard experiments have been recognized pre-launch.
One experiment onboard the gap aircraft is from the U.S. Naval Analysis Laboratory (NRL), an investigation into reworking solar energy into radio frequency microwave power. The experiment itself is known as the Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module, PRAM for brief.
In conjunction with toting NRL’s PRAM into Earth orbit, the X-37B additionally deployed the FalconSat-8, a small satellite tv for pc advanced by means of the U.S. Air Drive Academy and backed by means of the Air Drive Analysis Laboratory to habits a number of experiments on orbit.
As well as, two NASA experiments also are onboard the gap aircraft to check the results of the gap atmosphere on a fabrics pattern plate and seeds used to develop meals.
OTV-1: introduced on April 22, 2010 and landed on Dec. 3, 2010, spending over 224 days on orbit.
OTV-2: introduced on March 5, 2011 and landed on June 16, 2012, spending over 468 days on orbit.
OTV-3: introduced on Dec. 11, 2012 and landed on Oct. 17, 2014, spending over 674 days on-orbit.
OTV-4: introduced on Would possibly 20, 2015 and landed on Would possibly 7, 2015, spending just about 718 days on-orbit.
OTV-5: introduced on Sept. 7, 2017 and landed on Oct. 27, 2019, spending just about 780 days on-orbit.
OTV-1, OTV-2, and OTV-3 missions landed at Vandenberg Air Drive Base, California, whilst the OTV-4 and OTV-5 missions landed at Kennedy House Middle, Florida.
There is not any phrase on when and the place OTV-6 will go back to Earth.
In step with a Boeing truth sheet, “the X-37B is among the global’s latest and maximum complex re-entry spacecraft, designed to function in low-earth orbit, 150 to 500 miles above the Earth. The automobile is the primary because the area go back and forth being able to go back experiments to Earth for additional inspection and research. This United States Air Drive unmanned area automobile explores reusable automobile applied sciences that toughen long-term area goals.”
The X-37B program is flown beneath the wing of a U.S. House Drive unit known as Delta 9, established and activated July 24, 2020.
“Delta 9 Detachment 1 oversees operations of the X-37B Orbital Take a look at Automobile, an experimental program designed to show applied sciences for a competent, reusable, unmanned area check platform for the U.S. House Drive,” in keeping with a truth sheet issued by means of Schriever Air Drive Base in Colorado.
“The challenge of Delta 9 is to arrange, provide, and undertaking assigned and connected forces for the aim of undertaking give protection to and protect operations and offering nationwide choice government with reaction choices to discourage and, when vital, defeat orbital threats,” the reality sheet explains. “Moreover, Delta 9 helps House Area Consciousness by means of undertaking space-based battlespace characterization operations and likewise conducts on-orbit experimentation and era demonstrations for the U.S. House Drive.”
Leonard David is writer of the ebook “Moon Rush: The New House Race,” printed by means of Nationwide Geographic in Would possibly 2019. An established creator for House.com, David has been reporting at the area business for greater than 5 a long time. Apply us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb. This model of the tale used to be printed on House.com.