Skip to main content

Photos: Secretive X-37B Space Plane's 3rd Mission for the US Air Force

X-37B Lands to End OTV-3 Mission

Boeing

Between Dec. 11, 2012 and Oct. 17, 2014, the U.S. Air Force flew a top secret mission with its robotic X-37B space plane. Here: The X-37B spacecraft lands itself on Oct. 17, 2014 to end its record-shattering 674-day mission. Read the Full Story.

See more photos from that amazing mission, called OTV-3, here.

X-37B Space Plane Landing and Flag

Boeing

An American flag waves over the runway landing site for the U.S. Air Force's third X-37B space plane mission, which returned to Earth on Oct. 17, 2014 after a 22-month secret mission. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane Landing: Rear View

U.S. Air Force/30th Space Wing/Vandenberg Air Force Base

A rear view of the X-37B robotic space plane landing of Oct. 17, 2014 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Read the Full Story.

Recovery Crew Works on X-37B: OTV-3

Boeing

A recovery crew works on the U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane on Oct. 17, 2014 shortly after the spacecraft's landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane's Landing Success

Boeing

U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane zooms by a camera during the successful landing of the OTV-3 mission at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane at Vandenberg: OTV-3

Boeing

The U.S. Air Force's third X-37B space plane mission comes to an end with a smooth landing at Vandenberg Air Force Station in California on Oct. 17, 2014.

X-37B Space Plane Recovery Crew

Boeing

A recovery crew works on the X-37B space plane shortly after the spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. The robotic X-37B spacecraft spent 674 days in orbit. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane Makes 3rd Landing

Boeing

A mysterious X-37B space plane makes its approach for landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 17, 2014 in this view. The winged robotic spacecraft spent 674 days in space on a secret mission for the U.S. Air Force. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Landing on Oct. 17, 2014: Ground Crew

Boeing

The U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B unmanned space plane is serviced by a ground crew after successfully landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. The landing wrapped up a record-breaking 674-day spaceflight for the winged mini-shuttle. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane Processing

Boeing

A recovery crew team works to process the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane after the robotic spacecraft's successful landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. It was the third X-37B mission for the Air Force. Read the Full Story.

X-37B Space Plane: OTV-3 Success

Boeing

The U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B space plane is seen on a runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after its successful landing on Oct. 17, 2014. The landing marked the end of a record-shattering 674-day mission by the robotic spacecraft.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.