In a discreet launch, the United States military’s space plane has embarked on a classified mission anticipated to extend over several years. The unmanned spacecraft, known as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, took off on its latest secretive journey, shrouded in mystery regarding its specific objectives and duration. Operated by the U.S. Space Force, this orbital vehicle has become emblematic of the military’s covert space initiatives, sparking speculation about its undisclosed tasks and the potential advancements it aims to achieve during its extended mission.
Secretive Mission Takes Flight
The US military’s secretive X-37B space plane has launched on its seventh mission, embarking on a classified venture expected to extend over the next couple of years. Resembling a mini space shuttle, the reusable plane, devoid of a crew, carries classified experiments like its predecessors. The mission took off aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, following a delay of more than two weeks due to technical issues.
Built by Boeing, the X-37B stands as a unique feat in space exploration, boasting autonomous capabilities and a design reminiscent of NASA’s retired space shuttles, albeit one-fourth their size at nine meters long. The space plane, capable of vertical take-offs and horizontal landings, operates without astronauts and is designed to orbit at altitudes ranging from 240km to 800km.
As it embarks on this classified mission, Space Force officials remain tight-lipped about the duration of its orbital presence and the nature of the experiments on board.
X-37B’s Enigmatic Legacy Continues
The X-37B, with over 10 years in orbit since its debut in 2010, continues to add to its enigmatic legacy with each secretive mission. As it follows the footsteps of its predecessors, the space plane’s ability to conduct classified experiments and remain aloft for extended periods raises intrigue and speculation.
Positioned as a symbol of advanced space technology, the X-37B’s autonomous capabilities and versatility make it a crucial asset for the US military’s undisclosed objectives in orbit.