Photos: X-37B Space Plane - The Orbital Test Vehicle

It's All in the Brochure

United Launch Alliance

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.

Did I Pass the Acid Test?

U.S. Air Force

The X-37B/OTV spacecraft undergoes final testing at Boeing for a 2010 test flight. Click to enlarge.

We Have a Technical (Adjustment)

Boeing/R. Davis

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.

X-37B in Space


The U.S. Air Force's X-37B (shown here in an illustration) is an unpiloted military space plane capable of long-duration flights in Earth orbit. The robotic spacecraft has a solar array for power and a payload bay the size of a pickup truck bed.

Do I Have to Draw a Diagram?

United Launch Alliance

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.

A Very Good Place to Start

United Launch Alliance

This image gives an overview of the launch site overview at Cape Canaveral.

A Look Inside

Karl Tate,

This graphic takes a look inside the X-37B space plane and its Atlas 5 rocket.

On the Runway


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.

Drop It Like It's Hot

Alan Radecki

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

X-37B Robot Space Plane: On the Launch Pad

Pat Corkery/United Launch Alliance.

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.

All Stacked Up


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.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.