X-37B ends 15-month secret mission

An unmanned space plane is back on earth after a 15-month secret journey.

The X-37B was launched in March 2011 to conduct “in-orbit experiments,” according to the Associated Press.

The X-37B’s flight included a classified payload, the AP reported. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the plane’s program manager, said the aircraft provided the military with testing capabilities without the risks other programs face.

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The program is particularly important for space-technology development given the end of the space shuttle program.

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