Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane to Launch Next Week

The U.S. Air Force’s covert X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is scheduled to launch Sept. 7.

For the first time, the experimental space plane will hitch a ride aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the service announced Thursday.

Marking the fifth mission for the X-37B, the OTV “will also be launched into, and landed from, a higher inclination orbit than prior missions to further expand the X-37B’s orbital envelope,” the Air Force said in a release.

The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, which is responsible for the X-37B’s experimental operations, has been working to advance the aircraft’s performance and flexibility “as a space technology demonstrator and host…

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