Sunday, March 06, 2011

Airforce Lalunches another spy plane

On the heals of the historic mission when in December the X-37B became the United States' first unmanned vehicle to return from space and land on its own. Now a second Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, left Cape Canaveral, Fla. atop an Atlas V rocket. The X-37B, which was originally a NASA project, has the potential to pick up where the space shuttle program will leave off, least that is what Boing is saying - the Air-Force's position is that the program "has the potential to make space experiments more affordable. But the lack of clear mission statements past the overt, has lent the X-37B program an air of intrigue. Speculation has lead to suggesting the OTV may facilitate the development of combat and weapons systems. While others have suggested that the unmanned craft could be used as an orbital spy vehicle.

The latest mission is scheduled to last about 270 days, but the Air Force said that might be extended. The first craft stayed in orbit 224 days.

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