Space Force launches secretive X-37B space plane back into orbit for its sixth flight after mission details were revealed for the first time - and is not expected to return home until 2022(13 Pics)

The U.S. military´s mystery space plane rocketed into orbit again Sunday, this time with an extra load of science experiments.
It´s the sixth flight of an X-37B, a solar-powered plane that's flown by remote control without a crew.
Officials aren't saying how long the spacecraft will remain in orbit this time. But a senior vice president for X-37B developer Boeing, Jim Chilton, noted each mission has been progressively longer.
The previous mission lasted a record two years, with a touchdown shrouded in darkness at NASA's Kennedy Space Center last year.
A military official had earlier shared the craft’s agenda with the public for the first time ahead of its orbital flight.
The X-37B, riding atop a liquid fueled Atlas V rocket,  is carrying a range of payloads for three different experiments.
The tests include converting the sun’s power into radio frequency microwave energy that can be transmitted to Earth and power different facilities, including military posts.
Along with harnessing power from the sun, the plane is also set to evaluate the reaction of materials in space and the effect of radiation on seeds for NASA. 
The U.S. military´s mystery space plane rocketed into orbit again Sunday, this time with an extra load of science experiments. It´s the sixth flight of an X-37B, a solar-powered plane that's flown by remote control without a crew
The U.S. military´s mystery space plane rocketed into orbit again Sunday, this time with an extra load of science experiments. It´s the sixth flight of an X-37B, a solar-powered plane that's flown by remote control without a crew
Officials aren't saying how long the spacecraft will remain in orbit this time or the purpose of the mission. But a senior vice president for X-37B developer Boeing, Jim Chilton, noted each mission has been progressively longer
Officials aren't saying how long the spacecraft will remain in orbit this time or the purpose of the mission. But a senior vice president for X-37B developer Boeing, Jim Chilton, noted each mission has been progressively longer
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
In this file photo released by the US Air Force, the Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 lands at NASA 's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida, on May 7, 2017
In this file photo released by the US Air Force, the Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 lands at NASA 's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida, on May 7, 2017
This May 5 shows the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for the USSF at Cape Canaveral, Florida
This May 5 shows the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for the USSF at Cape Canaveral, Florida

The winged spacecraft resembles NASA´s old shuttles, but is just one-quarter the size at 29 feet long. The one just launched features an extra compartment for experiments, including several for NASA and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, making it the biggest science load yet for an X-37B.
The Air Force has two of these reusable space planes. Their home base is a former space shuttle hangar at Kennedy.
'You could say that the X-37B stands on the shoulders of the space shuttle,' Chilton said. 'From a common shape to a common home.'
Since the first flight in 2010, the secretive space planes had logged a combined 2,865 days in orbit as of Sunday.
'If you add up all the missions, just under eight years in orbit and 1 billion miles, so a lot of traveling by this machine,' Chilton said during the launch broadcast.
Delayed a day by bad weather, this marked just the second rocket launch for the newly established Space Force. In March, it hoisted a national security satellite.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission's primary payload is the X-37B spaceplane
The U.S. military's mystery space plane rocketed into orbit again Sunday this time with an extra load of science experiments
The U.S. military's mystery space plane rocketed into orbit again Sunday this time with an extra load of science experiments
United Launch Alliance, which provided the Atlas V rocket, declared success 1 1/2 hours after liftoff. It dedicated Sunday's launch to the health care workers and others who are working on the front lines of the pandemic.
The company said it followed health advice for the launch. Many of the flight controllers wore masks and were spread out.
Precautions were less evident along area causeways, where spectators parked to watch the Atlas soar. Thick, low clouds spoiled the show.
The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has an exceptionally fast turnaround for its next launch.
Before dawn Tuesday, SpaceX will attempt to launch another batch of its Starlink satellites for global internet service. It will be SpaceX's last flight before its first astronaut launch, scheduled for May 27 from next-door Kennedy Space Center.  
The space plane lifted off on top of an Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at around 9.15am
The space plane lifted off on top of an Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at around 9.15am
United Launch Alliance, which provided the Atlas V rocket, declared success 1 1/2 hours after liftoff. It dedicated Sunday's launch to the health care workers and others who are working on the front lines of the pandemic
United Launch Alliance, which provided the Atlas V rocket, declared success 1 1/2 hours after liftoff. It dedicated Sunday's launch to the health care workers and others who are working on the front lines of the pandemic
This pilotless craft has been performing a range of classified missions for the military group since 2010, allowing the group to test new technologies in space. 
The Air Force has two X-37Bs that are swapped while one is undergoing refurbishment. Powered by solar cells with lithium-ion batteries, the plane was orbiting at around 200 miles high. 
The first mission in 2010 lasted 224 days, the second a year later went on for 468 days and the mission that ended in 2019 lasted a total of 780 days.
'This program continues to push the envelope as the world's only reusable space vehicle,' Randy Walden, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director, said in an earlier statement.   
Space Force launches secretive X-37B space plane back into orbit for its sixth flight after mission details were revealed for the first time - and is not expected to return home until 2022(13 Pics) Space Force launches secretive X-37B space plane back into orbit for its sixth flight after mission details were revealed for the first time - and is not expected to return home until 2022(13 Pics) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:20 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.