Secret Space Plane Lands at Vandenberg

After a 15-month orbital mission, the super secret X-37B touched down in California over the weekend.

X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B Secret Space Plane upon landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base over the weekend. (Photos courtesy of USAF and NASA)**
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Pinner Paul
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B returned to Earth early Saturday morning after a lengthy 15-month orbital mission.Pinner Paul
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B's mission was originally slated to last only 9 months before being extended to nearly twice that.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
While the Air Force stresses that the X-37B's mission is to test reusable spacecraft technology, many experts speculate that the vehicle's inclination to low orbit may suggest other, intelligence-gathering objectives.Pinner Paul
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
As the second X-37B vehicle's recent mission comes to an end, engineers are readying the first X-37B vehicle for another launch slated to take place this fall.Pinner Paul
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B test vehicle waits in an encapsulation cell in Titusville, Florida during April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B test vehicle waits in an encapsulation cell in Titusville, Florida during April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B test vehicle waits in an encapsulation cell in Titusville, Florida during April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B test vehicle waits in an encapsulation cell in Titusville, Florida during April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B test vehicle waits in an encapsulation cell in Titusville, Florida during April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B taxies on the flightline at Vandenberg AFB in June 2009.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B seen after landing at Vandenberg in late 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B seen after landing at Vandenberg in late 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37B seen after landing at Vandenberg in late 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle is installed in a Boeing testing facility in California.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
The X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle is installed in a Boeing testing facility in California.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
A technician makes changes to the Test Vehicle in preparation for structural testing.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
Technicians adjust composite panels on the X-37B prior to airframe testing.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
An Atlas V rocket launches X-37B in April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
An Atlas V rocket launches X-37B in April 2010.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
Artist's rendition of X-37B during re-entry.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
Artist's rendition of X-37B.
X-37B Secret Space Plane
X-37B Secret Space Plane
Artist's rendition of X-37B.