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Air Force X-37B spacecraft lands after record 780 days in orbit



The spacecraft fulfilled "all mission objectives," according to USAF Rapid Response Director Randy Walden. Only what is not clear, however. The payloads of the X-37B are still classified and employees usually provide only vague hints as to what was on board. One was a thermal sprayer, which helped test "experimental electronics" and cool the heat pipe on a long-term space flight, while another project may have tested a Hall effect ionic body. Walden acknowledged that the spacecraft had deployed "small satellites."

This is definitely not the end for the X-37B when the sixth flight is scheduled to depart Cape Canaveral in 2020. However, it raises the bar for future travel. If the United States continues to boast of long durations in orbit, it will have to fly the spacecraft for more than two years ̵

1; that seems possible, but far more challenging than it was this time.


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