Autonomous spaceplane mission launches under U.S. Space Force flagNews
January 02, 2024
NASA--KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. The U.S. Space Force successfully launched the X-37B orbital test vehicle (OTV), an autonomous spaceplane, into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, marking the start of the OTV's seventh mission.
The Space Force reports that the latest tests for the X-37B will include operating in new orbital regimes, experimenting with space domain awareness technologies, and looking at the effects of space radiation on NASA materials.
The Boeing-built X-37B is a reusable, uncrewed spacecraft built with the aim of conducting technology experiments that expedite the development of next-generation capabilities.
Since its first launch in April 2010, the X-37B has continued to set new endurance records, surpassing the initial design mission duration of 270 days. Its previous mission, which landed in November 2022, set a new orbit record of 908 days.