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WATCH: Reusable 'space plane' successfully lands at Vandenberg Air Force Base

30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

UPDATE: Friday, October 17, 2014:

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3), the Air Force's unmanned, reusable space plane, landed Friday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The military said it touched own at 9:24 a.m.

"The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication," said Col Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander. "I'm extremely proud of our team for coming together to execute this third safe and successful landing."

The Air Force says the OTV-3 conducted "on-orbit experiments" during its record 674 days during its time in orbit. Two previous OTV missions had a combined orbit time of 693 days.

The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft, and the first space vehicle of this type since NASA's shuttle program. Its usefulness has been described as "secretive" by many news outlets, but the Air Force says the vehicle has performed "risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies."

The Air Force is preparing to launch the fourth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2015.

ORIGINAL:  Monday, October 13, 2014 at 6:19 p.m.

A spacecraft that's been circling the earth for nearly two years is scheduled to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base, which could take place as early as Tuesday, according to several reports on the mission.

The unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which is described as a secretive "reusable space plane," launched in December 2012 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It's the the first vehicle since NASA's Shuttle Orbiter with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, according to the Air Force. However, but it can stay in space for much longer than the pervious shuttles.

Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing says extensive training has taken place in preparation for the upcoming landing. The team will monitor the craft as it leaves earth's orbit and heads toward the Central Coast. It's designed to land horizontally on a runway.

The exact landing time depends on technical considerations and weather conditions, according to Vandenberg.