The National Aeronautics Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the Robert J. Collier Trophy 2019.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force X-37B autonomous space has won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautics Association for U.S. achievements in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.
The X-37B was one of nine candidates to include NASA’s Space Space Telescope and Stratolaunch transport aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “the development and use of the world’s only autonomous, reusable aircraft, which recorded more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing space access and serving as its headquarters. the nation in space experimentation and technology “.
The reusable aircraft is sent into low Earth orbit for long missions that can last up to two years. The Air Force operates two X-37B spacecraft made by Boeing.
The spacecraft is a derivative of the X-37A created by NASA in the late 1990s to be deployed by the spacecraft. The program was later transferred to the Department of Defense and is now managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
Originally designed for 270-day missions, the X-37B has set endurance records during each of its five completed flights. Its first mission was launched in 2010. In 2019, the spacecraft broke its orbital stability record of 718 days.
The sixth mission of the X-37B spacecraft took off on May 17, 2020, from the Cape Canaacles Air Force Station in Florida.
Randall Walden, director and chief executive officer of the Air Force Rapid Reaction Office, said the service plans to continue to support the X-37B program. “Right now we plan to keep it,” he said Aug. 13 during a Mitchell Institute webinar. “There is a lot of interest in vehicles in reusable space.”
“The Collier trophy celebrates the X-37B record-setting mission,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said in a statement. “The X-37B advances renewable spacecraft technology and operates space experiments that have been returned for further examination to Earth.”