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U.S. Air Force robotic space plane continues to maneuver in Earth orbit, according to the latest observations from skywatchers. The reusable space drone has been carrying out tasks using a suite of classified sensors and may be nearing its mission's end, according to comments from Air Force officials.

The spacecraft is the Air Force's X-37B space plane, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 1, which launched on its maiden flight on April 22 atop an Atlas 5 rocket.

The winged orbiter's mission has been shrouded in secrecy, but Air Force officials have said it was built for 270-day spaceflights, suggesting that it may be in the flight homestretch and preparing to make an atmospheric re-entry and landing – all on autopilot. [Video of the X-37B in space]

Official details regarding the space plane's whereabouts, its classified payload and projected landing date are scarce — more mum than informative.

"Nothing new," said U.S. Air Force Major, Tracy Bunko, a spokeswoman for the mission at the Pentagon's Air Force press desk.

The major is just being truthful.  The really new stuff isn't talked about at all. To read the rest of the article, click here.


Category: Science