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HomeScienceUS Military Space Plane Blasts Off from Florida on Long Secretive Mission

US Military Space Plane Blasts Off from Florida on Long Secretive Mission

Space X

On Thursday, a U.S. military space plane blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center. The night flight took off after being delayed due to technical issues for over two weeks. This is the seventh flight for X-37B and space officials did not share many details about the duration, the mission, and other details about the flight. What is known is that the space plane was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

SpaceX Falcon rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. The lift-off was at 8:07 ET. The rocket carried the U.S. military’s X-37B space plane. This plane has no crew and operates autonomously. It can reach extremely high altitudes.

The SpaceX website live-streamed the launch and also showed the side boosters had a safe touchdown on Earth. However, there is no information available as to where the space plane has gone.

XMicro.com

The X-37B space plane is similar to a small-sized NASA shuttle. It has blacked-out windows and is reusable. It is also fully autonomous.

This launch of the X-37B suggests that the space plane might be headed for distant orbits as it rode on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy that is one of the most powerful rockets that operates in the world. Earlier X-37B space planes were hitched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Atlas V, a rocket that is built by United Launch Alliance. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Falcon Heavy has a thrust that is greater than that of the combined thrust from these two rockets.

If X-37B travels deeper into the Cosmos, it might not be able to be tracked by amateurs and companies that are dedicated to tracking space objects. These military space vehicles can also be hidden using the glare of the sun or by the vehicle making multiple maneuvers, as seen in the past.

NASA has said that an experiment to “expose plant seeds to the harsh radiation environment of long duration spaceflight” is some of the research on board. The experiment is called Seeds-2 and is a continuation of research carried out by earlier X-37B missions. As of now, other experiments or instruments on board remain unknown.

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