SpaceX To Launch X-37B For First Time

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket for the US military Thursday, carrying the X-37B spaceplane to orbit for its fifth mission. Liftoff for the OTV-5 mission occurred at the first attempt, with a T-0 of 10:00 AM Eastern time (14:00 UTC) out of the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A in Florida. The booster returned to LZ-1 for another successful landing.

Falcon 9 OTV-5 Launch:

Thursday’s launch began the X-37B OTV-5 mission, the fifth flight of the US Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), an unmanned reusable spaceplane capable of carrying out operations and experiments in low Earth orbit before returning to Earth.

The Air Force operates a pair of X-37B spacecraft, with missions assumed to alternate between the two vehicles. On this basis, OTV-5 will be the third trip into space for the first X-37B spacecraft.

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