“Preparations for the third landing of the X-37B, the Air Force’s unmanned, reusable space plane, are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base,” said a statement from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. The miniature space shuttle, guided by robots, has been on the same mission since December 2012. The X-37B mission is classified, but the Air Force has revealed that the longevity of the X-37B flight is a record. In late August it reached the 600-day mark, breaking records.
The X-37B spacecraft–the Air Force owns two of them–is about 30 feet long with a wingspan of about 15 feet. The spacecraft were built by the excellently named division of Boeing called Phantom Works. The record-breaking endurance of the flights is enabled by an innovative solar array that provides power to the craft while in orbit.