An unmanned plane controlled by the Air Force, the X-37B, is set to land after officials said it had conducted a “successful” mission. The plane has been in orbit a remarkable 667 days.
The plane with a secretive mission is scheduled for landing on Tuesday. As of Sunday, the X-37B was orbiting at 17,425 miles per hour and was elevated approximately 217 miles in the air.
The X-37B is set to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The vehicle is reusable, and this most recent landing will be the third time it has departed and come back to land on earth.
“Team Vandenberg stands ready to implement safe landing operations for the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, the third time for this unique mission,” said Colonel Keith Baits, who is the commander of the 30th Space Wing.
The actual mission of the X-37 is highly classified, and has led many to ponder what its purpose entails. Since 1999, Boeing has received massive hundreds-of-millions of dollars contracts to continue the X-37 project. General William Shelton, the commander of Air Force Space Command, recently told Space.com: “X-37 is doing great. I can’t tell you what it’s doing, but it’s doing great.”
Some believe the possibility that the X-37 is an observation vehicle, while others have gone as far as to say that the aircraft is spying for the NSA and equipped with nuclear space weapons. The most plausible theories, according to techly.com.au, is that the X-37 is either running a duration test or an actual mission