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A completely unmanned, solar-powered U.S. military space plane landed back on Earth after spending a record 908 days in orbit. The orbit was its sixth mission and was used for conducting science experiments.
Source: Military TV/YouTube
The solar-powered spacecraft looks similar to a space shuttle and landed back at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. At 908 days, it broke its previous record over 780 days.
“Since the X-37B’s first launch in 2010, it has shattered records and provided our nation with an unrivaled capability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said Jim Chilton, a senior vice president for Boeing, its developer.
The plane hosted a service module that carried experiments for the Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Air Force Academy, and others for the first time, according to a press release. Before landing, the module separated from the vehicle to ensure a safe landing.
“This mission highlights the Space Force’s focus on collaboration in space exploration and expanding low-cost access to space for our partners, within and outside of the Department of the Air Force,” said Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations.
The X-37Be has now reportedly flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a total of 3,774 days in space. Incredibly, the plane is completely solar-powered and we hope this will show that solar can be used as a clean alternative for missions like this.
Projects worldwide are developing new ways to utilize solar panels and move away from dirty fossil fuels. Architecture students in Barcelona just built a solar-powered greenhouse that uses 50 percent less energy than it produces. Virginia is transforming abandoned coal mines into solar farms, and a start-up is helping retrofit old buildings in Brooklyn to use clean energy. The latest climate report from the IPCC is a final warning for governments around the world about Global warming, so it’s great to see companies taking the initiative and working towards a renewable future!
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