SpaceX launches Air Force's super-secret mini-shuttle

The X-37B    
   US Air Force
The X-37B US Air Force
Author

08 September, 2017

As The Verge notes, Hurricane Irma will be about 900 miles from Kennedy Space Center at the time of launch, so while it's very unlikely that the storm will directly impact the launch, it could cause unfavorable weather conditions and possibly, a delay.

This launch - the Air Force's fifth Orbital Test Vehicle mission, or OTV-5 - marks SpaceX's first attempt at boosting the 11,000-pound unmanned space plane to low Earth orbit.

Stage one of the Falcon 9 rocket landed successfully just eight minutes after launch, touching down at SpaceX's landing port located off the Florida coast, but the live feed cut out after lift-off due to the classified nature of the X-37B 'spaceplane'.

But what exactly the X-37B does in orbit is classified - aside from launch and landing dates and minor operational details, the Air Force provides little on the vehicle's objective. Its last mission saw it orbit Earth for two years before returning via a landing in May. You might remember the X-37B from its previous trip to space, which it returned from in May of this year. For comparison, the space shuttles were 122 feet (37 m) long, with 78-foot (24 m) wingspans.

SpaceX has been valued at $21bn (£16bn), making it one of the most valuable privately owned companies in the world.

Eagles set to battle Cameroon, again
I do not think that is possible. "But there is only an honour to defend, there is no importance to this. Nigeria's Super Eagles have secured a big victory over neighbouring Indomitable Lions of Cameroon .

SpaceX has launched the Air Force's super-secret space shuttle.

Previously, Lockheed Martin's Atlas rockets brought the Boeing vehicle into space. The Air Force usually says it's running experiments to test new satellite technology. "This mission carries small satellite ride shares and will demonstrate greater opportunities for rapid space access and on-orbit testing of emerging space technologies".

Boeing (ba) built the spacecraft, which was based on NASA's designs of an earlier vehicle, according to the space agency. The last mission, which ended in May, spent a record-breaking 718 days in space.

Another Falcon 9 rocket is due for launch October 4 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the third batch of 10 next-generation voice and data relay satellites for Iridium.


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