Science

Air Force launches X-37B spy plane from Florida

Air Force launches X-37B spy plane from Florida”

Though it is now operated by the US Space Force, it remains a US Air Force asset.

A space plane is on a secret mission for the U.S. Space Force after launching from Cape Canaveral Sunday.

"You could say the X-37B sits on the shoulders of the space shuttle", said Chilton.

Space Force propelled the Boeing-built space plane atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is adjacent to Kennedy Space Center.

A live video stream of the launch showed the Atlas V lifting off into space and the separation of the rocket's first stage from the Centaur upper stage. In addition, the mission will test reusable space vehicle technologies.

Raymond called the module "a trailer ... behind the truck that provides added capacity for experiments", but didn't want to elaborate on the size of the module or how the X-37 was modified to incorporate that upgrade.

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Experiments on board are to include studying the effects of space travel on various materials, and the effect of space radiation on seeds.

The craft launched with an extra compartment for experiments, including several for NASA and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, making it the largest load for science yet for a mission.

The aircraft, also known as an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), is on its sixth mission in space, where it will deploy a satellite into orbit.

"It suggests that the X-37B may have a mission to serve as a covert satellite deployment platform". The autonomous spacecraft took off Sunday at 9:14 a.m. ET, about 24 hours after bad weather conditions forced the postponement of the launch on Saturday. USA In decades, the Space Force is under the supervision of the secretary of the air force.

A U.S. congressional advisory panel last November compiled a report, urging the Trump administration to "develop a strategy to ensure the United States remains the preeminent space power in the face of growing competition from China".



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