Space Force is now an officially official Space Force
Source: New York Post
The newly-established Space Force blasted a secretive space plane into orbit from Florida Sunday for a mystery military mission.
The launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station marked the sixth flight for the solar-powered X-37B craft — which is flown by remote control without a crew.
Riding atop an Atlas V rocket, the craft left from Space Launch Complex 41 at 9:14 a.m., following a one-day delay due to bad weather.
Officials won’t say why or how long it will remain in orbit, but the last mission lasted a record-breaking two years in space.
Jim Chilton, who is senior vice president for X-37B developer Boeing, noted that each mission has been progressively longer for the craft.
It is one of two of the Air Force’s winged space planes, which together have logged a combined 2,865 days in orbit as of Sunday.
“If you add up all the missions, just under eight years in orbit and 1 billion miles, so a lot of traveling by this machine,”Jim Chilton
Senior VP – Boeing
The craft launched with an extra compartment for experiments, including several for NASA and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, making it the largest load for science yet for a mission.
Sunday’s launch was dedicated to health care workers and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
United Launch Alliance, which provided the Atlas V rocket, said it followed health advice for the launch with flight controllers wearing masks and spread out.