The US military’s secretive X-37B robot space plane has successfully launched on its seventh mission, marking the first time it has been launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. With the Falcon Heavy rocket’s capabilities, the space plane is expected to reach a higher orbit than ever before. The launch comes after multiple false starts and delays caused by poor weather conditions and technical issues.
Interestingly, just two weeks prior to this launch, China also launched its own robot space plane called Shenlong. However, the Pentagon has provided limited information about the X-37B mission, which is being conducted by the Space Force. The X-37B, built by Boeing and approximately the size of a small bus, is primarily designed for technology experiments and payloads.
This particular mission is significant as it marks the first time the X-37B has been launched aboard SpaceX’s more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. It is speculated that the space plane may be headed for a highly elliptical orbit around Earth or even towards the moon. The mission aims to test new orbital regimes and experiment with space domain awareness technologies.
In addition to its primary objectives, the X-37B is also carrying a NASA experiment. This experiment will study the effects of radiation on plant seeds in space, providing valuable insights for future space exploration and agriculture.
Overall, this secretive mission with the X-37B holds promise for advancements in technology and space exploration. With the successful launch atop the Falcon Heavy rocket, the space plane is expected to achieve new milestones and deliver valuable data on various experiments and payloads.
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