Danger Room: Air Force’s Secret Space Plane Prepped for New Launch

25.09.12

Categorie: Robert Beckhusen, Space, Wired |
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X-37B. Air Force photo.

X-37B. Air Force photo.

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN

The Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane is now readying for its third space mission, slated to begin in October. And perhaps not surprising for the hush-hush orbital drone, the third time into space remains as secretive as the first two.

Next month, the X-37B will blast off again aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The exact timing of the October launch is unknown and subject to change due to weather conditions, and there’s no telling how long the drone will stay in orbit. “Preparations for launch at Cape Canaveral have begun,” Major Tracy Bunko, an Air Force spokesperson, told Space.com.

While it’ll be the third flight for the robotic space plane program as a whole, it’s only the second for this particular craft. Four months ago, X-37B’s second of two planes returned from its first flight and a record-breaking 469 days in orbit – more than double the first mission’s total.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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