The US Air Force's enigmatic space plane, the X-37B, has embarked on its third mysterious mission.
The secretive X-37s are fueled by a combination of solar power and batteries, allowing them to stay in space for long periods of time. Officially their purpose is to "demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform". "They’ll run experiments to see if the new technology works, then bring it all back home and inspect it to see what was really going on in space," said Gary Payton, Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space Programs.
To date however the exact nature of the experiments has remained a secret with the Air Force refusing to provide specific details. Some question whether the X-37s are actually performing experiments at all and whether the flights could have ulterior motives.
"After a delay of nearly two months owing to a technical glitch, the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane blasted off again from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop an Atlas rocket on Tuesday."
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