Boeing said the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is the first payload customer for its Phantom Eye high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. On June 5, the Department of Defense (DOD) agency announced a $6.8 million contract modification with Boeing to incorporate an unspecified payload aboard future test flights of the aircraft.
The second Boeing X-37B OTV (orbital test vehicle) touched down at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on June 16 after a 469-day mission (USA-226). OTV-2 had launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on board an Atlas V launch vehicle on March 5, 2011. The first X-37B mission (USA-212) with OTV-1 was launched on April 22, 2010 and landed on December 3. Thus, the X-37B has now successfully accomplished two automatic recoveries of a vehicle from space.
The U.S. Air Force/Boeing X-37B spacecraft returned to earth by landing at Vandenberg AFB in California on December 3. Aside from some damage from space debris and a blown tire on rollout, the 244-day flight was a success, said officials.