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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 6:56 pm | Fair 58º


X-37B Space Plane Not Home Yet as Landing at Vandenberg AFB Delayed

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle gained at least another day in space when its landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base was postponed until Friday at the earliest.

Vandenberg officials announced last week that the reusable space plane’s return was imminent but remained mum about plans for the specific time and date of the landing at the base’s three-mile runway.

Military officials would say only that landing depends upon weather and technical considerations.

But Vandenberg has issued notices warning boaters and pilots to remain clear of the area several days this week, including Thursday.

The newest advisory warns to remain out of the area Friday. 

The Air Force typically issues such advisories for safety reasons around rocket launches and missile tests but also has done before the two previous X-37B landings at Vandenberg.

Those landings occurred in December 2010 and June 2012.

The current mission — the second for this vehicle — began in December 2012 when it rode into space aboard an Atlas 5 rocket that blasted off from Florida.

The military is especially tight-lipped about the mini space shuttle’s role beyond saying it supports space experimentation, risk reduction, and concept of operations development for long duration and reusable space vehicle technologies.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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