SpaceX to put on the detective hat for the US Airforce

By : |June 8, 2017 0

SpaceX is getting into some serious detective job. After shooting a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in May, SpaceX is gearing up to launch a reusable X-37B mini space shuttle for the US Airforce.

The mission was confirmed on Tuesday at a hearing of the US Senate Armed Services Committee. Scheduled to happen sometime in August, Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane will be launched on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

CIOL

Built by Boeing, the X-37B is also known as the ‘Orbital Test Vehicle,’ and it launches vertically strapped to a rocket but then lands like a traditional plane. The X-37B weighs about 11,000 pounds (5 metric tonnes) and has orbited Earth at altitudes between 200 and 250 miles (320 to 400 kilometres).

Right now, details are kept under wrap, however, according to the Gizmodo report, Air Force said it will use the launch to “test some electronics and oscillating heat pipes aboard the spacecraft.”

“The ability to launch the Orbital Test Vehicle on multiple platforms will ensure a robust launch capability for our experiment designers,” Randy Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in the hearing. “We are excited about this new partnership on creating flexible and responsive launch options and are confident in SpaceX’s ability to provide safe and assured access to space for the X-37B program.”

Typically, launch contracts are announced two years before a flight, but the Air Force disclosed the X-37B contract merely two months before the trip. This means SpaceX has only two months for preparation.

Elon Musk-owned SpaceX doesn’t stop here, but the company already has a couple of other air force missions in the pipeline for 2018. Both of them have to do with GPS satellites and are valued at $83 million and $96 million.

No matter what, we are sure Musk is pretty excited about this spy job, for the brainy traits that we know him for.

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