The United States successfully launched the X-37B satellite into orbit for secret space experiments. The mission became the sixth in a row for the apparatus – its goals and objectives are not disclosed.
The X-37B was developed by order of the Pentagon and is believed to be used for Earth observation and reconnaissance.
The length of the spaceplane is 8.8 m, and the wingspan is 4.5 m. In addition to reconnaissance, the US military plans to use the X-37B to launch and remove micro- and nanosatellites from orbit.
The launch of the X-37B into low Earth orbit took place on May 16 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The drone began flying in 2010, serving as a platform for an experimental payload. It is called “secret” because 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.
This time, the US Air Force partially disclosed information about the tasks of the device: in particular, it has to conduct three experiments in orbit. 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 learn how solar energy is converted into radio frequency microwave energy.
It was previously reported that the X-37B orbital unmanned spacecraft developed by the American aerospace company Boeing broke its own orbit record set in a previous flight.