US military’s secret robot spaceplane conducting classified mission with SpaceX

A secret plane for a secret mission.
  • The US military launched a secret robot spaceplane in December
  • It was a joint operation with SpaceX
  • This classified mission is the spaceplane’s seventh mission

Published on Apr 20, 2024 at 11:26AM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 22, 2024 at 8:27PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Nalin Rawat
robot spaceplane x-37b spacex

The US military’s secret X-37B robot spaceplane is on yet another classified mission in a joint effort with SpaceX.

This robot spaceplane is a special one because it’s a reusable spacecraft and doesn’t need a human to operate it.

SpaceX blasted off the X-37B spaceplane back in December of last year for its seventh mission.

READ MORE: US Air Force trialing self-piloted F-16 fighter with commander on board as passenger

But what makes this spacecraft so unique?

For starters, it’s an unmanned spaceplane that looks like a passenger space shuttle.

It’s also a reusable spaceplane — meaning that it can be launched into space for several missions.

Similarly, its current mission is its seventh mission in order.

What’s it doing out there, you ask?

Nobody knows except some of the higher-ups in the US military and SpaceX.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the X-37B atop a Falcon Heavy rocket higher into orbit than it previously had been in.

The space agency chose to launch the aircraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on 28 December 2023.

But, this isn’t your average spaceplane.

The X-37B can stay in orbit for over two years in one go.

Combining all its previous missions, the mysterious robot spaceplane clocked over 10 years in space.

Now, that certainly makes one wonder about what it does.

So, let’s take a closer look at this secret spacecraft that the US military chose.

Developed by Boeing, the X-37B has flown over 1.3 billion miles in orbit.

From what little we do know, the robot spaceplane conducts experiments for the US space department.

The Pentagon also mentioned that the latest mission would include tests of ‘new orbital regimes, experimenting with future space domain awareness technologies.’

In addition, NASA also assigned another experiment to the X-37B regarding a study of the effect of prolonged radiation on plant seeds in space.

This could likely be due to NASA’s plan to set up agriculture in space for astronauts.

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