Unmanned US "Mini Shuttle" Back to Earth After 15-Month Space Flight

By Gary Cutlack on at

This button-nosed little cutie is the US Air Force's X-37B OTV-2, a sort of miniature space shuttle built for the military by Boeing. It flies itself, lands itself, and has just spent 15 months orbiting the planet doing secret military things.

We have no idea what it was doing or what payload it had onboard, but the official explanation as to the vehicle's use is that it "allows space technology experts to continue sending up experiments" so that... doesn't clear anything up at all.

This is the second orbital flight of the OTV-2. The first flew in 2010 and managed eight months in space. There's a third one scheduled to launch in the autumn. [Wired via Telegraph]