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X-37B: The Air Force's Mysterious Space Plane

The U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane has flown three clandestine missions to date, carrying secret payloads on long-duration flights in Earth orbit. The robotic vehicle resembles NASA's famous space shuttle but is much smaller. The X-37B is about 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall, with a wingspan just less than 15 feet (4.6 m). At launch, it weighs 11,000 lbs. (4,990 kilograms). The X-37B's payload bay (the area in which the cargo is packed) measures 7 feet long by 4 feet wide (2.1 by 1.2 m) — about the size of a pickup truck bed. Just what the X-37B carries in there is unclear, however. Air Force officials generally comment only on the overall goals of the program, stressing that each payload is classified. Red more at Space.com.

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