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Second X-37B Sent Into Orbit

Second X-37B Sent Into Orbit

The military’s super-secret space plane takes to the skies a second time…

The second X-37B unmanned orbital test vehicle was launched last Saturday, from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V rocket. The current test flight comes just three months after the first super-secret X-37B touched down at the Vandenberg Airbase, California, last December.

x-37b orbital test vehilce

Second X-37B Launched Into Orbit

Image Credit: News Au, 2010.

The first X-37B, known as the “Orbital Test Vehicle” or OTV, was launched from Cape Canaveral on 22nd April, 2010, and returned safely back to earth eight months later on 3rd December. Very little information on the craft was released to the public, which lead some to believe that the X-37 – a program originally started by NASA program but later picked up and funded by the Air Force – could be the military’s attempt at weaponizing space.

However the Air Force still maintains that the vehicle will be used to transport equipment to and from space, with the goal of making space access easier and more efficient.

The current mission is scheduled for 270 days, roughly one month longer than the previous. Again, there’s little other info offered up so for now, we’ll just have to keep guessing exactly what the orbital unmanned spaced plane will be used for.

USAF X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle Launch With Background

NASA X-40: Scaled X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle Drop Tests – No Audio



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Source:

  1. Jack Loftus: Second Super Secret X-37B Space Plane Blasts Into Orbit. Gizmodo, 03/06/2011.
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