The United States Air Force has successfully launched its high-tech drone X-37B, putting the reusable vehicle into orbit for its 6th secretive mission in space. The drone, which looks like a smaller version of the manned space shuttles retired by the US space program in 2011, was propelled from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The drone will spend months in orbit, remotely leading a series of experiments. The defence secretary Mark Esper tweeted just after the launch, “Congratulations on the 6th mission of the X-37B reusable spacecraft,”.
US Successfully Launches Unmanned Reusable Drone
The massive Atlas V launch vehicle took off with an enormous roar to loft the UAV, also known as an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), into space. In turn, the drone will deploy a little research satellite dubbed FalconSat-8, to roll out some additional experiments. The secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett stated earlier this month, explaining on what up to now has been a highly undercover project. Barrett, who also heads the recently created US Space Force told that “This X-37B mission will host more experiments than any prior missions”.
Between the experiments: testing the impact of radiation on seeds and some other materials, and transforming the solar power into radio-frequency microwave energy that could be dispatched to the ground. The drone, X-37B is 29 feet long, with a wingspan of 15 feet. The Pentagon has issued photos of the drone, but up to now had disclosed few details related to its missions and capabilities.
On each of its successive flights, the first took place in 2010, the solar-powered craft has endured in orbit for longer periods of time. Its last flight ended in Oct19, after 780 days in orbit.