May 16, the secret mini-shuttle X-37B will be sent into space

On May 16, the secret mini-shuttle X-37B will be sent into space. With it, researchers will study how solar energy is converted into radio frequency microwave energy.

The US Air Force X-37B space shuttle will return to low Earth orbit for the sixth time. Its launch is scheduled for May 16 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Although the device is owned by the country’s air force, US space forces will control its upcoming launch, experiments, and landing.

The shuttle began flying in 2010, serving as a platform for an experimental payload. He was called “secret” in the media – the Air Force did not share information about what tasks the shuttle performed. At the same time, in 2019, he spent 780 days in orbit – 240 days longer than expected.

According to the researchers, they plan to conduct three experiments at once. One of them concerns the study of the reaction of materials to conditions in space, the second concerns the determination of the effect of cosmic radiation on seeds. Researchers will also study how solar energy is converted into radio frequency microwave energy.

Program Executive Randy Walden called the sixth mission a “big step” for the X-37B. For the first time, the shuttle will use the service module to conduct experiments, which will allow it to place more experimental payload on board in the future.