Mysterious space plane lands back on Earth

A mysterious space plane belonging to the US Air Force has made its way back to Earth after spending 780 days in orbit, the longest mission in the mysterious military test program’s history. It was launched to space in September 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

According to the Air Force, the uncrewed X-37B which landed on Sunday, conducted several in-orbit experiments and has now been brought back for examination.

While much of the details of these experiments are confidential, the only information revealed by the Air Force is that the program “performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.”

This is the fifth X-37B space plane to be launched into orbit over the past decade, with each flight longer than its predecessor. In Sunday’s press release, the Air Force announced it was preparing to launch the sixth X-37B mission in 2020.