Open menu

Space Exploration News

The latest news about space exploration and technologies,
astrophysics, cosmology, the universe...

Posted: Dec 11, 2012

Air Force sends mystery X-37B mini-shuttle back to space (w/video)

(Nanowerk News) A top-secret mini-space shuttle has blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
The Air Force launched the unmanned spacecraft Tuesday aboard an Atlas V rocket.
It's the second flight for this original X-37B spaceplane. It circled the planet for seven months in 2010. A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit.
X-37B spacecraft
X-37B spacecraft
These mystery machines are about one-quarter the size of NASA's old space shuttles and they can land automatically on a runway.
The military isn't saying much if anything about this new secret mission. But one scientific observer, Harvard University's Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, speculates the spaceplane is carrying sensors designed for spying and likely is serving as a testbed.
The two previous secret flights were in roughly 200-plus-mile-high orbits.
Watch a news clip from the X-37B's last trip:
Source: via Associated Press
If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on reddit or StumbleUpon. Thanks!
Check out these other trending stories on Nanowerk:

Subscribe to a free copy of one of our daily
Nanowerk Newsletter Email Digests
with a compilation of all of the day's news.