On October 17, 2014 at 16:24 UTC the U.S. Air Force's X-37B unmanned space plane returned back to Earth. The plane touched down on runway 12 of Vandenberg U.S. Air Force base. The X-37B space plane concluded its third mission after spending 675 days in orbit.
USA-240, also referred to as Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3), is the second flight of the first Boeing X-37B, an American unmanned robotic vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing space plane. It was launched to low Earth orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on 11 December 2012. Its mission designation is part of the USA series.
The unpiloted reusable space plane — called the Orbital Test Vehicle by the Air Force — conducted on-orbit experiments during its mission, officials said.
Details on its activities in space have been kept secret by the Air Force, but some analysts speculate the winged spaceship could test next-generation surveillance, communications and intelligence-gathering instruments, deploy small satellites, or demonstrate new materials for use in future military programs.