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SpaceX delays launch of secret Space Force mission

Elon Musk's SpaceX A planned Space Force mission involving the U.S. military's top-secret X-37B spacecraft has been postponed by one day due to weather, the military announced Sunday.

The launch was originally scheduled for Sunday at 8:14 p.m. ET at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but was postponed to the same time Monday night as weather conditions are expected to be favorable for launch. It was done.

“Falcon Heavy launch of the USSF-52 mission is currently targeted for Monday, December 11th. Favorable weather conditions favor a Monday night launch,” SpaceX said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). It is expected that this will improve by up to 70%.”

of Boeing X-37B is an unmanned robotic spacecraft operated by the Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office in cooperation with the Space Force, based on an earlier version of the spacecraft used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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Engineers in protective suits inspect the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 1 after it landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on December 3, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Stonecypher/DoD/Corbis via / Getty Images)

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, is a reusable spacecraft that is launched vertically into orbit by a launch vehicle and ultimately re-enters Earth's atmosphere as a spaceplane that lands horizontally on a runway. Designed.

of Air Force He said this is the first vehicle since NASA's Shuttle Orbiter with the ability to bring experiments back to Earth for analysis.

Much of its operations and testing remains secret, but the service said in a fact sheet that technologies tested by the X-37B include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high-temperature structures and seals, and reuse. capable insulators, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, advanced propulsion systems, advanced materials, and autonomous orbital flight.

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Launch of the X-37B spacecraft

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6) lifts off from Pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 17, 2020. (Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via/Getty Images)

The X-37B is designed to remain in space for long-term missions lasting at least 270 days, although some missions have lasted longer. The X-37B's fifth mission reached 780 days in orbit, and its sixth mission was conducted from May 17, 2020 to November 12, 2022, for a total of 908 days in orbit.

In 2019, former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the X-37 is “fascinating” because it can turn and change its trajectory as it approaches Earth. She added: “That means our enemies don't know where it's going to happen next.”

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The upcoming X-37 mission will be the spacecraft's seventh spaceflight since its debut in April 2010. This will be the first time the X-37 has been launched into orbit. SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket. The fifth mission was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket, and the last mission used an Atlas V rocket.

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