Sunday, December 09, 2012

Atlas Carrying Hush-Hush Space Plane Set to Launch Tuesday

By: Jim Turner | Posted: December 9, 2012 8:09 AM

Residents in and around the Space Coast may get a chance to watch as one of the U.S. Air Force’s hush-hush mini-shuttles is launched on Tuesday.

An Atlas V rocket is expected to go up between 1:03 p.m. and 6:03 p.m. from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle in its secret cargo.

The space plane, developed by The Boeing Company, is 29 feet long.  No timeline for the length of the flight or its itinerary is available.

The first mission of this craft, launched from Cape Canaveral on April 22, 2010, was deemed successful after landing Dec. 3, 2010 at Vandenberg Air Force Base after 224 days in orbit. 

A second space plane launched from Cape Canaveral on March 5, 2011, reportedly testing new space technologies, returned to Vandenberg on June 16, 2012 after 469 days in space.


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