Unmanned USAF space plane lands in California – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times

An unmanned Air Force space plane steered itself to a landing early Saturday at a California military base, capping a 15-month clandestine mission.

The spacecraft, which was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in March 2011, conducted in-orbit experiments during the mission, officials said. It was the second such autonomous landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In 2010, an identical unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth after seven months and 91 million miles in orbit.

The latest homecoming was set in motion when the stubby-winged robotic X-37B fired its engine to slip out of orbit, then pierced through the atmosphere and glided down the runway like an airplane.

via Unmanned USAF space plane lands in California – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times.

Is it just me, or do the mainmounts look like they were adapted from the F/A-18 series?

Update by Roamy: Landing video in infrared and normal light.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BunIgmSrQA&w=560&h=315]

2 thoughts on “Unmanned USAF space plane lands in California – Air Force News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Air Force Times”

  1. They do resemble Hornet legs. Given that Boeing now manufactures that plane, as well as the X-37, I would not be surprised if they used some COTS items. MacDac did that with the Delta Clipper.

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