Thermal Cam Video: X-37B Robo Shuttle Landing

We’ve all seen the pics from the Air Force’s X-37B secret shuttle’s return to Earth after a record-breaking 469 days in space Saturday morning. Now e’ve got some great thermal video of the robo-shuttle, officially known as X-3&B Orbital Test Vehicle-2 (OTV-2), landing just after Sunrise last week at Vandenburg Air Force Base on the California coast. Notice just how hot the nose section if of the little craft, as you can see from the video above, the heat-resistant tiles on the nose are charred white.

As is usual with the X-37B, we have no idea what the damned thing was doing up there. The first X-37B, OTV-1, is slated to be sent into orbit sometime this fall aboard an Atlas V rocket out of Cape Canaveral, Fl.

Click through the jump for more pics and the video.

  • RunningBear

    “we have no idea what the damned thing was doing up there””

    “Taking care of business…..”

    Curiosity killed the cat! :)

  • Taylor

    Glad we’ve got at least one secret left.

  • Hut

    My question is why does the ground crew always appear wearing “bunny” Haz-Mat suits?

    • Zeb

      To protect the aliens that were carried back ;)

    • phila_guy

      they’re the first ones out with a portable gas detector to check for any hydrazine leaks which is the maneuvering thruster’s fuel.

    • UAVgeek

      Because most thrusters on orbital vehicles use Hydrazine, quite toxic.

    • Stag

      ^^^ SCAPE suits(Self-Contained Atmospheric Protection Ensemble).. And the hose attached to the back is purging the internal bay of the same toxic and or explosive gases mentioned above probably.

    • Bronco46

      They need protection from any residual booster and thruster fuel.

  • Prodozul

    So awesome

  • miles

    That is verry cool.

  • Guest

    Is the purpose to intimidate China, Iran, N Korea? I’d like to see the orbit track for this, it may give clues as to if or what it is spying on.

  • Guest

    Does anyone know if this craft can be maneuvered while in orbit?

  • Rob

    I wonder if the X-37Bs will fly again. I doubt that Boeing will be able convince anyone to fund (produce) the X-37C.

  • LetsLobRob

    Leave it alone…

  • LtKitty

    Shutup and take my tax dollars! This thing is awesome.

  • Brandon

    I’ve got any idea. what if the spaceplane has weapons on it to destroy other satellites and launch small bombs from low earth orbit.

  • Mark

    This is real life.

  • Jumpmaster77

    The name of this space ship is Prometheus and it was used to follow a map to the distant moon LV-223.

  • WarPony

    Probably picked up robonaut from the ISS and hauled him around to the Chinese space station to peep into the window – scared the cr@! out of ’em.

  • Pappa51

    At least our space endeavors are not completely out of business… It would be interestings to see what’s in the payload bay when they come back?????
    Neat stuff to think about.

  • socalguy

    I for one am proud to be part of the aerospace/military industrial complex that makes projects like this possible. Having worked on the design of missile systems, radar systems, KKV systems and Space Station, It warms my heart that these programs are still alive and doing well. Those that have never been part of this community will never understand what it is like to be a contributing member of engineers that group.

    This is the greatest country on earth. All should be equally proud of accomplishments like these.

  • ChipNASA

    Hut asked – “My question is why does the ground crew always appear wearing “bunny” Haz-Mat suits?”

    I work at NASA and have been at Kennedy and CCAFS and that is probably because of the possibility that this craft used Hydrazine (as do many other craft) as a rocket propellant and there are numerous other nasty chemicals that they use as thrust producers for various craft that are *NASTY*.

  • pocket-rocket

    Right on,at least I can see my tax dollars well spent. Better than some o-buma solar pannel company blowing it so we will never know where it went.

  • asdf

    if you ask me, it was probably photographing chinese/ soviet sats.

  • Dan

    Why do I hear a jet engine winding down?

  • Lee

    We Need more spacecraft like these.