It's now been a couple of months since the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane lifted into orbit amid the expected shroud of secrecy. What's remarkable about this third classified mission in the X-37B program is how little the public knows about it. We don't know how long the craft is supposed to orbit the Earth, and we don't know the mission's objectives. The unmanned space plane ventured into orbit twice before on hush-hush missions for the Air Force. One tidbit that is known: the craft now in Earth orbit was also used … Read more
It's round three for the mysterious X-37B space plane.
An Atlas V rocket carrying the unmanned craft, which looks like a miniature space shuttle, has gotten clearance for a planned liftoff tomorrow at just after 10 a.m. PT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. [Update, December 11 at 10:21 a.m. PT: The Associated Press reports that the rocket carrying the X-37B has launched.]
If the previous two trips into space are any indication, don't expect the X-37B to come home anytime soon -- or for the U.S. Air Force to say … Read more
A second mysterious, robotic space plane was launched into orbit by the U.S. Air Force today, after the first craft safely returned to Earth late last year following a secretive months-long mission and speculation about its potential military or intelligence uses.
The second Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, left Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 2:46 p.m. PT, atop an Atlas V rocket, Boeing said.
The X-37B, an unmanned U.S. Air Force space plane whose mystery mission set off a round of speculation over the spring and summer, returned to Earth early this morning after its maiden flight lasted 220 days in orbit.
The space plane landed at 1:16 a.m. PT today at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, officially making it the U.S.'s first unmanned vehicle to return from space and land on its own, according to Boeing, which designed the craft. Launched in April from Cape Canaveral by an Atlas 5 rocket, the X-37B was designed to stay … Read more
With the launch Thursday of the X-37B spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket, the U.S. Air Force is taking a page from NASA's space shuttle program.
Looking somewhat like a traditional shuttle but at roughly one-quarter the size, the unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle took off for its maiden space voyage from Cape Canaveral in Florida and reached a low earth orbit late in the day. The X-37B is intended to serve as a platform for experiments and to offer insights on transporting satellite sensors and other equipment to and from space.
"If these technologies on the … Read more