US Air Force has launched its Atlas V rocket, and it was a success. It was carrying an X-37B space plane for a mysterious mission. The rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral on Sunday, just a day after the bad weather did not let me go on with their plans, as officially intended, with the launch on Saturday. The aircraft is known to be an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), which will send a satellite into orbit and will test power-beaming technology. This is the sixth mission in space for this planet.
This launch was dedicated to the front line workers and to those who were affected by the pandemic. They even wrote a message on the payload fairing of the rocket: “America Strong.” The X-37B is cataloged as being a programme, and we don’t know much about it. The Pentagon has talked about it for a bit, but they revealed little details about the mission of the drone and what it is capable of.
The Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, stated: “This X-37B mission will host more experiments than any other prior missions”. Apparently, one of these experiments will put to the test the effects of radiation on seeds and on other materials.
A history of the programme
This programme started in 1999. The aircraft looks like a smaller version of the space shuttles, which were retired by the space programme back in 2011. It could also fly through the atmosphere and land on a runway, just like the shuttle did back in its day. Boeing built it, and it uses solar panels in order to go to the orbit. It measures more than 29ft (9m) long, and it has a wingspan of about 15 feet. It weighs 4,989 kg (that’s 11,000lbs).
The first plane got to fly back in April 2010, and it then returned after eight months of the mission. The latest missions ended back in October 2019, after about 780 days out there. The aircraft spent more than seven years into space.