A secret spaceship lands in Florida
A secret space force craft landed in Cape Canaveral over the weekend — creating a series of sonic booms and flashes that had some locals fearing everything from a meteor strike to UFOs.
The 30-foot-long, robotic X-37B military craft — which gained fame both for its secret missions and its ability to stay in orbit for so long — ended its final journey at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, according to Space Force and USA Today.
As the spacecraft headed east across Florida around 5 a.m. before landing, dozens of sonic booms were reported.
Some Central Florida residents said they felt their homes shake — and several locals suggested the possibility of a meteor or UFO.
“Shit! … I was driving south almost to the Cape early this morning when I saw this pass overhead. A meteor? A UFO? Everyone on the road hit the brakes,” wrote a Twitter user. “I thought Twitter would know lol, but I didn’t think it would be X-37.”
Another user wrote“No, there was no UFO!
“In case you heard that very LOUD sonic boom this morning in Central Florida (like I did), it could have been this…” he said, posting an article speculating that the boom came from X- 37B.
The rumblings are said to be heard from Titusville to Kissimmee Fox 29.
The small unmanned spacecraft, which looks like a mini-shuttle, spent a record 908 days in orbit, 118 days longer than its previous record, USA Today reported.
The Boeing reusable vehicle, which has now completed its sixth mission, has traveled 1.3 billion miles during 3,774 days in space. He has been circling the Earth on various journeys since 2010.
Although the X-37B’s primary missions are mostly classified, it performs secondary tasks that are made public, the publication said.
Several NASA experiments were completed during the record-breaking mission, the military space force said in a statement.
This trip was the first to include a service module, or “a ring attached to the back of the vehicle, expanding the number of experiments that can be performed during a mission.”
One of the experiments, in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory’s Photovoltaic RF Antenna Module, “successfully harnesses the sun’s rays from outside the Earth’s atmosphere and aims to transmit energy to the ground in the form of RF microwave energy,” according to the statement.
Another experiment conducted by NASA investigated the effect of long-term exposure in space on seeds to support the production of space crops on future missions.
“The X-37B continues to push the boundaries of experimentation, thanks to an elite government and industry team behind the scenes,” Lt. Col. Joseph Fritchen, program director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, said in a statement.
“The ability to conduct experiments in orbit and bring them safely home for in-depth analysis on Earth has proven valuable to the Air Force Department and the scientific community. The addition of the OTV-6 service module has allowed us to host more experiments than ever before.”
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