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

08 September 2017, 12:30 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Enlarge The Falcon 9 rocket is ready to launch an Air Force spy

Enlarge  The Falcon 9 rocket is ready to launch an Air Force spy

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.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor gate falls short of the record
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.

Milestone for Shakib as Bangladesh build 88-run lead against Australia
However, the tall Australian fast bowler fell short of support and remained not out on 33 on one end as wickets fell from other.

Murray pulls out of US Open, may miss rest of season
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.



Other News

Trending Now

2017 iPhone Pre-orders May Begin on September 15
Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 8 costs about £869 - so it's a safe bet to assume that Apple's gadget will match or top this price. These panels are purchased at a price that twice more than what Apple is paying for LCD panels for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Senate committee to interview Trump Jr. behind closed doors
In an e-mail response to Goldstone, Trump Jr wrote that if the promised information about Clinton was as advertised, "I love it". Blumenthal told CNN that Trump Jr.'s interview did not put his concerns to rest, and instead opened up new lines of questioning.

Judge to decide fate of U.S. state's only abortion clinic
The state argued that the clinic lacked "important safeguards" necessary in protecting women's health. Casey, adds that states can not place an "undue burden" on a woman seeking an abortion.

US Threatens 'Massive Military Response' Against North Korea
President Moon Jae In said his country would not allow its neighbor to continue to advance its nuclear and missile technologies. Trump said in the first of several tweets about Sunday's test. 'But as I said, we have many options to do so, ' he added.

Cowboys specialist Tim Zaleski whiffs on punt attempt
Wyoming punter Tim Zaleski made his collegiate debut Saturday at Iowa and had a moment he'd like to quickly forget. While attempting to pin the Iowa offense as far back as possible, he forgot to actually kick the ball.

Man Trump Sent to Fire Comey Is Quitting
That investigation, which had been overseen by Comey, is also looking into the financial dealings of several Trump associates. A subsequent letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was used instead as the basis to terminate Comey.

Union Ministers including MoMSME Kalraj Mishra resign ahead of Cabinet reshuffle
A change is also expected in the Railways Ministry after a series of train accidents recently leaving 20 people dead. The others who have resigned are Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and minister of state Sanjeev Balyan.

Alexa has a new friend: Cortana
This cross-platform integration will also allow Alexa users to get access to some of the more unique aspects of Cortana . It's likely both Bezos and Nadella had Apple and Google at the top of their minds when they agreed to the partnership.

Two million Muslims begin Hajj in Makkah
With the exception of previous Iranian boycotts, impeded access to the Hajj is virtually unprecedented in modern Islamic history. Ibu Mariah Marghani Muhammad is joining more than 220,000 pilgrims from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

United Nations chief in Ramallah says no alternative to two-state solution
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in tensions since the beginning of October 2015. Israel is now considering reinstating visits for all legislators.