SpaceX launches US Air Force's super-secret mini-shuttle

SpaceX, the Elon Musk owned Rocket Company, is all set to fire off its 13th Falcon 9 of the year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday and, unlike other missions, this time the mission of X-37B mini-shuttle to carry the spy shuttle for the USA military has been kept a well-sealed secret.

Live images broadcast by the California aerospace company showed a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the unmanned X-37B drone lifting off at 10:00 am (1400 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

It was SpaceX's second mission for the Pentagon this year following a secret satellite launch in May and the private company's first launch of the X-37B. Safety and mission success were critical in the design of the Falcon 9 rocket.

About 2.5 minutes into the flight, the Falcon 9's two stages separated.

The X-37B is the first uncrewed space plane for the US, and is designed for reusability at a reasonable cost.

The X-37 has hitched previous rides to space on a United Launch Alliance rocket. As mentioned, this will be the fifth flight of the Air Force's X-37B program.

Previously, Lockheed Martin's Atlas rockets brought the Boeing vehicle into space.

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Kavanagh - who is now in Florida - added: "The Nate Diaz trilogy fight at lightweight is what I'd personally like to see next". Both fights were superb viewing, too, with Diaz forcing a submission in the first but losing the rematch on points.

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However, the tall Australian fast bowler fell short of support and remained not out on 33 on one end as wickets fell from other.

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So, obviously there has been a lot of players with injuries this year - Roger and Rafa last year had a few problems. Murray , the champion in NY in 2012, also pulled out of the Masters tournament in Cincinnati leading up to the U.S.

Together, the two X-37Bs have completed four space missions, each of which has set a new duration standard for the program. A deployable solar panel generates electricity for the mini-shuttle, and it does not rely on hydraulics for its aerosurfaces, unlike NASA's space shuttles, which were limited to missions lasting several weeks. Its last mission lasted 718 days, or nearly two years.

The SES 11/EchoStar 105 spacecraft has been delivered to Cape Canaveral from its Airbus Defense and Space factory in Toulouse, France.

It will now need to be moved from its base as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida in time for Saturday morning.

But this week's rocket launch is not what an ordinary SpaceX launch looks like.

A commercial South Korean television broadcast satellite named Koreasat 5A is third in line on SpaceX's launch manifest, with liftoff from Florida scheduled for mid-October.

As has become customary, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral for eventual reuse.


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