Secretive Air Force X-37B spacecraft launches in May its sixth mission that is not expected to break its previous record of 780 days in low orbit

  • The X-37B spacecraft is set to embark on its sixth mission on May 16 from Florida
  • It is expected that the craft will spend more than two years in space following its previous mission of 780 days
  • The spacecraft lets the US Air Force secretly test new technologies

The US Air Force's mysterious spacecraft aims to break another record by spending more than two years in a low-Earth orbit.

The X-37B is set to take off on May 16 and is not expected to return home by mid-2022 – the previous record was a 780-day mission that wasn't ready in 2019.

The mission, called OTV-6, is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, aboard a liquid-fueled Atlas V rocket.

This pilotless craft has carried out a variety of classified missions for the military group since 2010, enabling the group to test new technologies in space.

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The mysterious US Air Force's mysterious spacecraft aims to break another record by spending more than two years in a low-Earth orbit. The X-37B is set to launch on May 16 and is not expected to return until mid-2022 – the previous record was a 780-day mission in 2019 (pictured)

OTV, which stands for & # 39; Operational Test Vehicle & # 39;, means the Air Force launches a 29-foot-long X-37B robot mini-shuttle to low orbit to test new technologies, reported the National Interest.

The sixth mission will launch on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 16 in Florida.

The Air Force has two X-37B's that are switched while one goes on.

Powered by solar cells with lithium-ion batteries, the planet traveled around 200 miles high.

The first mission in 2010 lasted 224 days, the second a year later went 468 days, and the mission that ended in 2019 lasted a total of 780 days.

OTV, which stands for & # 39; Operational Test Vehicle & # 39;, means that the Air Force launches a 29-foot-long X-37B robot mini-shuttle in low orbit to test new technologies

OTV, which stands for & # 39; Operational Test Vehicle & # 39;, means that the Air Force launches a 29-foot-long X-37B robot mini-shuttle in low orbit to test new technologies

The sixth mission will launch on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 16 in Florida.

The sixth mission will launch on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 16 in Florida.

& # 39; This program continues to push the envelope as the only reusable space car of & # 39; e world, & # 39; said Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, in & # 39; e statement Sunday.

& # 39; With a successful landing today, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and completed all mission objectives.

& # 39; This mission was a successful host of experiments for the Air Force Research Laboratory, among other things, as providing a ride for small satellites. & # 39;

The Air Force is usually very secretive about what the spaceship takes to deal with, but made an exception in its latest mission.

The military group shared that the X-37B was the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader built by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

According to the AFRL, the three primary scientific goals of a & # 39; load load are to reduce the initial thermal performance of & # 39; measure job, measure long-term thermal performance, and assess any degradation of life.

One expert suggested that this aircraft could already be part of an early US Space Force.

Five former X-37B missions have been launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 missiles. Each time, the unmanned spacecraft has performed a mysterious load on long-haul flights in Earth orbit

Five former X-37B missions have been launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 missiles. Each time, the unmanned spacecraft has performed a mysterious load on long-haul flights in Earth orbit

& # 39; Ironically, the X-37B is just the kind of program – to give the FS flexibility in operations in & # 39; e space – that seems to provide the current pressure for a Space Force, but is already underway, & # 39; Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor in the National Security Affairs Department at Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, told Space.com.

Five former X-37B missions have been launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 missiles.

Each time, the unmanned spacecraft carried out a mysterious payload on long-haul flights in Earth orbit.

& # 39; The many first on this mission make the upcoming OTV launch a milestone for the program, & # 39; said Walden at the launch last year.

& # 39; It is our goal to continue with the advancement of the X-37B OTV so that it can support the growing space community more. & # 39;

WHAT IS THE X-37B SPACE PLAN?

The unmanned US Air Force unmanned spacecraft is similar to & # 39; e spacecraft from Nasa, but is much smaller.

The spacecraft is 29 feet (8.8 meters) long, 9.6 feet (2.9 meters) long and weighs approximately 11,000 lbs. (4,990 kilograms).

It ran about 320 kilometers (320 kilometers) high.

The unmanned US Air Force unmanned spacecraft is similar to & # 39; e spacecraft from Nasa, but is much smaller. The spacecraft is 29 feet (8.8 meters) long, 9.6 feet (2.9 meters) long and weighs approximately 11,000 lbs. (4,990 kilograms)

Officials have disclosed some details about the OTV-5 mission (the fifth of the aircraft), but according to the Air Force, one onboard OTV-5-loaded American thermal spreader that & # 39; s the longevity of electronics and hot pipes in # 39; a spatial environment test will.

The craft is powered by solar cells with lithium-ion batteries.

Four previous X-37B missions have been launched by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 missiles.

Each time, the unmanned spacecraft carried out a mysterious payload on long-haul flights in Earth orbit.

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