A mysterious military "space plane" returned to Earth on Sunday after a more than 700-day mission, announcing its arrival with a window-rattling sonic boom heard over a large swatch of central Florida.
Not much is known about the classified, unmanned Air Force plane, why it was sent to space, or what it might have taken with it. Lt. Col. Ron Fehlen, who is the program manager for the experimental X-37B aircraft, said the mission was a success and that the team is "excited about the data gathered to support the scientific and space communities,'' WMFE reports.
Several theories exist about the purpose of the X-37B, including speculation that it is used for surveillance or combat. "Fueling theories that it aids surveillance programs, trackers found that at least one earlier mission followed an orbit that took it over countries that included Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan," NPR writes.
Watch the X-37B land on a shuttle runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center below. Jeva Lange