The Public Launch of a “Private” Space Plane

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The United States Air Force launches a spacecraft, but mission details and even its duration remain a mystery.

The evening of April 22 marked the launch of the United State Air Force’s spacecraft, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, into space to test “a new batch of reusable technologies”, according to Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force space program.  Launched into space using an Atlas V rocket booster from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the test vehicle will undergo a demonstration mission.  Payton, however, would not go into further detail about the length of the mission or what exactly the demonstration will entail.  Following the mission’s end, the craft will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Following the renewed commitment of the government to the U.S. space program, we can expect more aerospace-related activity in the near future.

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Francis M. Unson

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