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Waspie_Dwarf

Air Force Mystery Space Plane X-37B

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Another Atlas 5 readied to launch mini space shuttle

United Launch Alliance's Atlas-Centaur rocket has been put together for deploying the Air Force's third Orbital Test Vehicle flight, a mission that will demonstrate the reusability of the X-37B spaceplane when it blasts off Oct. 25.

The bronze first stage of the vehicle was erected atop the mobile launch platform inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral on Thursday, Sept. 13.

After setting the interstage adapter hardware in place, the Centaur upper stage was hoisted high into the assembly building on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The upcoming spaceflight will be the second for this particular X-37B vehicle, which spent 224 days, 9 hours and 24 minutes aloft between April and December 2010 on the inaugural OTV shakedown cruise.

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Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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The U.S. military’s mysterious X-37B space plane is headed back into the great beyond.

The X-37B is slated for its third launch in October, the Air Force said, but like its two orbital predecessors, the mission of the unmanned spacecraft remains shrouded in secrecy. The exact timing of the October spaceflight, dubbed Orbital Test Vechicle-3 or OTV-3, is also tentative.

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"Since the 2010 maiden flight, U.S. officials have continuously assured the world that the mission of the OTV series is non-nefarious “testing.” For instance, the coming October mission will focus on testing the vehicle’s capabilities as well the cost-effectiveness of the aircraft, Air Force spokesperson Maj. Tracy Bunko told SPACE.com".

Surely the most appropriate name for a military spokesperson ever. Isn't it a shame that, with the obsessive secrecy of the military, whatever they find out from all this testing will never be released for others, such as NASA, to make use of?

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Remember NASA is still GOV.org . Diddley dont tell. Mostly ! :gun:

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Isn't it a shame that, with the obsessive secrecy of the military, whatever they find out from all this testing will never be released for others, such as NASA, to make use of?

What is particularly frustrating is that the X-37 started out as a NASA programme before being transferred to the military.

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i hate secrets...

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