Military mini-shuttle not landing at KSC Tuesday
Secretive X-37B spacecraft remains in orbit, officials say
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Reports that the military's secretive X-37B mini-shuttle was preparing to land today at Kennedy Space Center proved inaccurate, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
The Air Force said notices clearing airspace were part of exercised the program is running.
"The X-37 is still on-orbit," said Capt. Annmarie Annicelli, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. "The program is conducting a regularly scheduled exercise this week."
The potential landing by the unmanned, experimental space plane was reported by NASASpaceflight.com, citing notices to aviators clearing the air space.
The website said the landing could occur as early as 7:48 a.m.
Anniceilli on Monday has refused to confirm rumors that a landing was imminent at KSC's three-mile Shuttle Landing Facility. No official notice of a landing will be provided until after the reusable vehicle is on the ground.
The mission known as Orbital Test Vehicle-4, or OTV-4, is the fourth flown by an X-37B, a program run by Boeing. The mission has been in progress for more than 620 days since its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20, 2015, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The semi-classified X-37B program then was in the process of consolidating its operations at KSC, taking over two former shuttle hangars, called Orbiter Processing Facilities 1 and 2, with plans to make Florida the primary landing site.
Three prior missions landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which remains available as a landing site.
No spacecraft has landed at KSC since Atlantis touched down to conclude the shuttle program in July 2011.
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