SpaceX and US Space Force Schedule Launch of Mysterious X-37B Spacecraft for Dec. 10

SpaceX and US Space Force Schedule Launch of Mysterious X-37B Spacecraft for Dec. 10:

SpaceX and US Space Force Schedule Launch of Mysterious X-37B Spacecraft for Dec. 10

The mysterious X-37 B spacecraft of the U.S. Space Force is poised for its seventh flight.

Space Force officials confirmed in an update today (Dec. 7) that both the Space Force and SpaceX are in the concluding stages of readying the robotic X-37B for its planned Sunday evening launch on Dec. 10.

The space plane is set to launch atop a Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 10-minute launch window begins at 8:14 p.m. EST (0114 GMT on Dec. 11). Should SpaceX proceed with the expected webcast, viewers will have the opportunity to watch the live action on

It’s believed that the Space Force has two X-37B vehicles, both constructed by Boeing. These space planes bear a striking resemblance to NASA’s retired space shuttle orbiters, albeit in a much smaller size. Remarkably, both X-37Bs could easily fit inside the payload bay of a single space shuttle.

The two X-37Bs have completed a combined total of six missions so far, each surpassing the previous in duration and ambition. The latest, named OTV-6 (Orbital Test Vehicle-6), concluded in November 2022 after a remarkable 908 days orbiting Earth before touching down.

The duration of the upcoming OTV-7 flight remains undisclosed as the Space Force maintains limited transparency regarding X-37B missions due to the classified nature of their payloads. Among these payloads are anticipated to be cutting-edge reconnaissance instruments. Military authorities have consistently highlighted the X-37B’s role as a platform for testing and advancing new technologies.

Indeed, alongside its classified payloads, the X-37B also transports certain civilian research cargo. For instance, among the unclassified experiments scheduled for OTV-7 is Seeds-2, a NASA initiative aimed at examining the effects of prolonged exposure to space radiation on seeds.

The initial five X-37B missions were launched using United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets, while the latest mission took flight aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. Notably, OTV-7 marks the inaugural use of the robust Falcon Heavy for an X-37B mission.

The Falcon Heavy boasts a history of eight successful missions thus far. In its most recent launch in October, it propelled NASA’s Psyche spacecraft toward the peculiar metal asteroid sharing its name.

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