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Secret mini-shuttle lands in California
by Staff Writers
Vandenberg Afb, Calif. (UPI) Dec 3, 2010

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

An unmanned U.S. military mini-shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral in April glided to an automated landing in California Friday, Air Force officials said.

After a 220-day classified mission, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle touched down at 4:16 a.m. EST at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Florida Today reported.

The OTV-1 is the first U.S. unmanned vehicle to return from orbit and land on its own.

"We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission," Lt. Col. Troy Giese, X-37B program manager, said in a statement.

"This marks a new era in space exploration," said Paul Rusnock, X-37B program director for The Boeing Co., the spacecraft's prime contractor.

During its test of orbital operations, the spacecraft opened its payload doors, extended a solar-power mast and utilized its maneuvering and control systems.

A second unmanned shuttle, OTV-2, is scheduled to be launched next spring, Florida Today reported.


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Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Nov 30, 2010
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