SpaceX launches secret space plane X-37B for USA military

Aaron Brown
September 8, 2017

The company's focus will likely immediately switch to preparing the company's many Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center facilities for Hurricane Irma, expected to make landfall on the East coast of Florida sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.

This marks the first time that SpaceX was granted the opportunity to use its Falcon 9 to launch the X-37B, and it shows that the has confidence in the rocket's reliability rating.

At 10am Florida time, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off, launching the mysterious X-37B spaceplane into orbit.

What's also unclear how long the X-37B will remain in orbit.

A communications satellite for SES and EchoStar is scheduled to fly into geostationary orbit no earlier than October 2 from pad 39A aboard a previously-flown Falcon 9 booster. Over all four previous missions, the space craft have spent a total of 2,085 days in space. A deployable solar panel generates electricity for the mini-shuttle, and it does not rely on hydraulics for its aerosurfaces, unlike NASA's space shuttles, which were limited to missions lasting several weeks. The first one launched in 2010. The space plane most recently returned to Earth back in May, after a two-year sojourn in orbit, where it was presumably doing something.

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He'll be bidding for a place in the quarter-finals later on Sunday, with the match scheduled to be second on the Grandstand Court. It's always good for the new guys or for the guys who are out of the Top 10", Schwartzman said of the wide-open draw.

But this week's rocket launch is not what an ordinary SpaceX launch looks like.

Although much is dependent on the weather as Hurricane Irma is expected to be around at the time of the launch. While the secretive nature of the Orbital Test Vehicle missions mean that live coverage ended after the first stage landed, this resulted in unbelievable live coverage of the landing, as is now routine.

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 goal.

Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander thanked the entire OTV-5 mission team for their efforts in ensuring a successful launch.

As has become customary, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral for eventual reuse.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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