After the shuttle program ended, spaceflight dominance for the United States looked to be in jeopardy. Then came the X-37B. This mini space shuttle looks like it could be the future of what we can look forward to in the near future for military space aircraft. The X-37B is a reusable shuttle with a payload bay about the size of a pickup truck. The shuttle which is about to come back down is also unmanned and has been orbiting the earth for over a year.
With this new highly secretive space plane, the Air Force has a highly reusable and very sturdy aircraft to help protect the interests of the United States. The exact mission the X-37B was on is a mystery, but according to General William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command it was a success saying this: "Although I can’t talk about mission specifics, suffice it to say this mission has been a spectacular success."
At this time it is not exactly sure how exactly the X-37B will be used, or how often it will be used. All we do know is that it keeps America at the top of the Earth based space food chain.
The X37-B is the latest in a fairly long line of space vehicles. Check out this informative infographic on the subject: