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Technology Boeing-built X-37B space plane goes into orbit for shadowy Space Force test mission

19:15  17 may  2020
19:15  17 may  2020 Source:   geekwire.com

Virgin Orbit sets first orbital launch for May 24

  Virgin Orbit sets first orbital launch for May 24 Virgin Orbit has been preparing for this moment for years, but it's now officially ready to launch its small satellite delivery vehicle to orbit for the first time. Virgin Orbit has been preparing for this moment for years, but it's now officially ready to launch its small satellite delivery vehicle to orbit for the first time. This key demonstration mission, taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, will replicate the actual operational launch experience that Virgin Orbit hopes to provide its customers going forward.

a group of clouds in the sky: Boeing-built X-37B space plane goes into orbit for shadowy Space Force test mission © Provided by Geekwire Boeing-built X-37B space plane goes into orbit for shadowy Space Force test mission

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launched a Boeing-built X-37B space plane today on a semi-secret orbital mission under the management of the recently created Space Force.

  • Today’s USSF-7 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came at 9:14 a.m. ET (6:14 a.m. PT), a day after the first attempt was called off due to weather. This is the sixth test flight of an X-37B, the first such flight to have a service module attached to the space plane’s aft, and the first carried out under the Space Force’s banner. ULA dedicated the launch to those affected by COVID-19 as well as first responders and front-line workers.
  • The U.S. military traditionally holds back the details of the X-37B’s classified test missions, while providing information about experiments included aboard the uncrewed mini-space shuttle. This time, the plane is carrying payloads aimed at testing power-beaming technology and gauging the effects of space radiation on seeds for crops — plus FalconSat-8, a small experimental satellite to be deployed in orbit.
  • In a statement, ULA’s vice president of government and commercial programs, Gary Wentz, hailed “the success of this mission.” But it could be a while before the X-37 descends from orbit to end its mission with a runway landing. Past test flights have lasted as long as 780 days.

Virgin Orbit successfully dropped a rocket from a jumbo jet and ignited it, but its launch failed due to an 'anomaly' .
Virgin Orbit's first rocket launch failed due to an unexplained problem after it had a "clean release" from the Cosmic Girl jumbo jet. The airplane and flight crew safely returned to the base in Mojave, California, after the launch attempt on Monday. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared support with the company on Twitter, writing that the Falcon 1 took four attempts before orbiting around the Earth. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.After postponing its long-awaited rocket launch by a day, Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket had a successful release from a jumbo jet.

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