Oct. 27 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5 spaceplane set a new record as it landed Sunday at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center after spending more than two years in orbit.
The reusable unmanned spacecraft touched down at 3:51 a.m. after completing 780 days in orbit, breaking its own previous record of 718 days, and extending the total number of days spent on-orbit for the test vehicle program to 2,685.
“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,” Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director Randy Walden said.
“This mission successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory Experiments, among others, as well as providing a ride for small satellites.”
The fifth mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on-board a Space-X Falcon 9 booster Sept. 7, 2017, as it embarked on the record-breaking mission.
The Air Force has two reusable X-37B spacecraft in its fleet that have each flown multiple flights meant to test experiments in a long-duration space environment.
“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane,” Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said. “Each successive mission advances our nation’s space capabilities.”