The top-secret spaceplane known as the X-37B returns to Earth, sending sonic booms across Florida

  • X-37B Space Plane Returning to Earth
  • Kennedy Space Center
Photo: U.S. Space Force

People throughout Central Florida heard the rumble of the sonic booms Saturday. At first a mystery, the booms were caused by the X-37B space plane returning to Earth, landing on the old space shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Center. The landing marks the end of a more than 900-day spaceflight, FoxWeather reports.

This was the sixth covert X-37B test mission, which included a novel ring-shaped service module on its tail. The service module housed experimental payloads for NASA and the U.S. military, but it will be jettisoned before the plane’s descent. In other words, it is built to be safely disposed of in weeks to come.

The Space Force announced that one of their experiments, the Naval Research Laboratory‘s Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module, had succeeded in collecting solar energy outside of Earth’s atmosphere and converting it into microwave energy which could be transmitted back to Earth.

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