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Air Force’s mysterious space plane readies for another launch

The United States Air Force reports that they are on track to launch an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) mission in late October. This mission will mark the third launch of their secretive X-37B space planes.

The X-37B at the Astrotech facility in Florida. (Credit: US Air Force)

Major Tracy Bunko of the Pentagon’s Air Force press desk explained to Space.com that, as was the case with the X-37B program’s two previous spaceflights, the payload and mission details of the mission launching in October are classified, “but the focus remains on testing vehicle capabilities and proving the utility and cost-effectiveness of a reusable spacecraft.”

The first OTV mission lasted 225 days in space, while the second mission lasted a record-breaking 469 days in space. But like its cargo and its true purpose, the duration of the OTV-3 mission is unknown. As Wired.com explains, “Its mysterious mission has fueled speculation it could be a spy. China fears it could be an experimental weapons platform or a means to disable satellites.”

The X-37B will launch aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

One comment

  1. avatar

    These secret space craft and satellite’s are driving me crazy! I can’t stand the fact of secret actions taken by our government. I know the U.S. military has an obligation to protect this great country but if China or Russia has secret weapons in space WE NEED TO KNOW THIS! Why should something like this be so secretive? This is the question that leads me to believe that this is a spy satellite of some type for some reason we may never know. Disclosure and peace:)

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