United States Air Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane has been successfully launched into space for its sixth mission after the successfully take off at 9:14 AM ET on Sunday, though United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 501 rocket.
USAF’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6) landed last year at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after its record-breaking fifth mission in the space.
“The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health and safety conditions,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success.”
Along with X-37B, this mission also deployed the FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit.
This mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food.
Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could be transmitted to the ground.
This was 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket and 139th mission of ULA that makes ULA’s track record of 100% mission success with 139 successful launches.