U.S. Air Force X-37B Space Plane To Launch Aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 Sept. 7 From Kennedy Space Center

By  //  September 3, 2017

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Boeing-built spaceplane has 2,085 days in orbit

ABOVE VIDEO: The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane will blast off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Thursday, Sept. 7 from Kennedy Space Center. ( US Military News video)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane will blast off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Thursday, Sept. 7 from Kennedy Space Center.

This is the X-37B’s fifth mission and it will be outfitted with the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader created by the Air Force Research Lab to “test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment.”

The Air Force’s secret unmanned spaceplane made a surprise landing at Kennedy Space Center on May 7 and has spent a total of 2,085 days in orbit.

During the most recent 718-day period of operation, the plane conducted on-orbit experiments, the nature of which were not made public by the U.S. Air Force.

The returning X-37B last May announced its arrival with a sonic boom, giving Space Coast residents their second booming wakeup call in a week.

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When the small craft’s wheels touched down on the Shuttle Landing Facility runway just before 8 a.m., it marked the first time that a spacecraft landed at Kennedy Space Center since the last flight of space shuttle Atlantis nearly six years ago.

Three previous X-7B missions all concluded at Edwards Air Force Base in California. But the Air Force now maintains one of three former shuttle hangars at KSC for the X-37B program, allowing the Boeing-built spaceplane to launch, land, and be refurbished at the same spaceport.

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane will blast off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 on Thursday, Sept. 7 from Kennedy Space Center. (U.S. Air Force Image)

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