Science

X-37B spaceplane launched for sixth secretive mission

X-37B spaceplane launched for sixth secretive mission”

The US Air Force on Sunday successfully launched its high-tech drone X-37B, placing the reusable vehicle into orbit for its sixth secretive mission in space. Local TV station WFTV is reporting weather is to blame.

Riding atop an Atlas V rocket, the craft left from Space Launch Complex 41 at 9:14 a.m., following a one-day delay due to bad weather.

Space and Missiles Systems Center plans to launch seven other missions this year, it said in a news release.

The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has an exceptionally fast turnaround for its next launch.

"We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19".

The Boeing-made X-37B is an unmanned, reusable spacecraft that takes off vertically and lands horizontally on a runway. The uncrewed test vehicle spends long periods on orbit circling the Earth while conducting these missions, with its longest mission to date being a record 780 days for its flight that landed on October 27. There has not been much information provided by the United States government or by the authorities in the past. A message including the words "America Strong" was written on the rocket's payload fairing.

More news: Coronavirus: Trump gives World Health Organization ultimatum over Covid-19 handling

This was the 84th flight for an Atlas rocket since 2002.

"This X-37B mission will host more experiments than any prior missions", she said.

The aircraft, also known as an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), will deploy a satellite into orbit and also test power-beaming technology.

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

Another experiment from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory will transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy, with the goal of transmitting that energy to the ground.

Since the first flight in 2010, the space planes had logged a combined 2,865 days in orbit as of Sunday.



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