This exciting graphic from the official promotion materials depicts the Atlas V booster at left, and the Orbital Test Vehicle (X-37B) at right. Click to enlarge.
The X-37B/OTV spacecraft undergoes final testing at Boeing for a 2010 test flight. Click to enlarge.
This 2003 photo shows a Boeing technician making adjustments to composite panels on the then NASA X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle. Atmospheric flight testing aided in the design of the orbital version of the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane.
Now being readied for an orbital shakeout, the X-37B (shown here in an illustration) is an unpiloted military space plane. Launched from Florida, the vehicle will make an auto-touchdown in California.
This exploded view details the components of the Atlas V 501 vehcle. The configuration consists of a single Atlas V booster stage and the Centaur upper stage, with the OTV mission encapsulated within the payload fairing.
This image gives an overview of the launch site overview at Cape Canaveral.
This SPACE.com graphic takes a look inside the X-37B space plane and its Atlas 5 rocket.
The X-37B space plane prototype is seen on a runway during flight tests in this undated photo released by the U.S. Air Force.
The first air drop of the X-37 experimental spaceship from the White Knight carrier craft was called off on April 6, 2006 due to high-altitude winds over Edwards Air Force Base in California. An April 7 attempt ended with the robotic space plane rolling o
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with the Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) - inside the bulbous nose cone - the rolls out to its Space Launch Complex-41 launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 21, 2010.
The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane prototype, called the Orbital Test Vehicle 1, is primed for its debut launch into space in April 2010.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with the Air Force’s Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) launches from its Space Launch Complex-41 launch pad at 7:52 p.m. EDT on April 22, 2010.
A belly view of the U.S. Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle as it sits inside its payload fairing during encapsulation at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Fla., before its planned April 2010 launch.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center image shows on-orbit functions for the reusable X-37 space plane, now under the wing of the U.S. Air Force.
Master satellite spotter, Greg Roberts of Cape Town, South Africa, is one of several amateur astronomers and skywatchers who tracked the first X-37B space plane from Earth in 2010.
A screen shot from the Simple Satellite Tracker app for iPhones and Android phones that allows skywatchers to track the secretive U.S. Air Force space plane and the International Space Station.
Early artist concept of the X-37 advanced technology flight demonstrator re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. The X-37 was billed by NASA as a testbed for dozens of advanced structural, propulsion and operational technologies that could dramatically lower the
With the first X-37B spacecraft back on Earth, the Air Force is now looking ahead to the next launch. The Air Force has ordered the construction of a second X-37B — the Orbital Test Vehicle 2 — for a mission to launch in the spring of 2011.
This X-37B space plane's payload bay is seen clearly in this side view, as is the scale of the spacecraft compared to a human. The X-37B began its life in 1999 as a NASA project, then transferred to the Pentagon's DARPA office in 2004. The Air Force took over in 2006. This mission launched on April 22, 2010. The flight's purpose and cost are classified.
Here, the X-37B space plane is seen in profile as post-landing work continues. The logos of Boeing and the Air Force are visible on the reusable spacecraft's hull. They appear between lines that outline the X-37B's payload bay, which is about the size of a pickup truck bed and can hold experiments, small satellites and a solar array panel that it used to generate power.
This photo released by the Air Force shows the nose of the mysterious X-37B space plane as recovery crews take measurements and other readings after its Dec. 3 landing at Vandenberg. The X-37B's unique V-shaped "ruddervators" — which serve as its tail stabilizers — are visible as well as a deployed air brake.
A crew of vehicle handlers clad in suits to protect against hazardous materials (like any remaining rocket fuel) approach the X-37B robot space plane after its successful Dec. 3 landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
An Air Force photographer snapped this profile view of the X-37B shortly after its landing on Dec. 3, 2010, which marked the end of the secret vehicle's maiden space mission.
Despite its robotic nature, the X-37B space plane received a warm welcome from Air Force crews at Vandenberg. Here, the vehicle appears to be undergoing safing procedures after landing on Dec. 3 at 1:16 a.m. PST (0916 GMT). Significant weathering, or discoloration, can be seen on the spacecraft's upper thermal blanket insulation.
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is shown inside its payload fairing during encapsulation at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Fla., ahead of a planned April 2010 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.