Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: X-37B

  • U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane nears one year on orbit

    Curt GodwinAugust 20th, 2018

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The fifth, and latest, mission for the U.S. Air Force's (USAF) X-37B uncrewed space plane nears a milestone that all but one of its predecessors met (and exceeded): one year on orbit.

  • SpaceX beats odds, Hurricane Irma to launch Falcon 9 with X-37B

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 7th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — With weather iffy at best and Hurricane Irma on the approach, SpaceX managed to launch its 13th Falcon 9 rocket this year. The flight sent the U.S. Air Force’s secretive robotic X-37B spaceplane into orbit.

  • As Hurricane Irma looms, X-37B poised for first flight atop SpaceX Falcon 9

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 6th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Continuing its breakneck launch pace, SpaceX is preparing to fly its 13th Falcon 9 rocket in the 2017 calendar year. The booster is scheduled to loft one of the U.S. Air Force's two reusable robotic X-37B spaceplanes.

  • USAF to swap ULA Atlas V for SpaceX Falcon 9 as X-37B launcher

    Jason RhianJune 6th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A report, written by Reuters' Irene Klotz and appearing on U.S. News, has stated that Space Exploration Technologies – more commonly known as SpaceX – has won the contract to launch the U.S. Air Force's X-37B. 

  • Photo Gallery: X-37B lands at historic Shuttle Landing Facility

    Derek RichardsonMay 9th, 2017

    Heralding its arrival to Florida residents early Sunday morning with a sonic boom, the U.S. Air Force's secretive X-37B landed at Kennedy Space Center's historic Shuttle Landing Facility. Touchdown took place at about 7:47 a.m. EDT (11:47 GMT) May 7, 2017.

  • 4th X-37B mission ends with first landing at Kennedy Space Center

    Derek RichardsonMay 7th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After nearly 21 months in orbit, the U.S. Air Force’s fourth X-37B mission concluded and returned to Earth for an automated landing at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility – the first time that the secretive spaceplane has touched down on the historic runway.

  • USAF’s secretive X-37B spacecraft’s AFSPC-5 mission passes one year mark

    Collin SkocikMay 25th, 2016

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B spaceplane has launched four times since its first flight in 2010; it has only landed three times. The current mission, OTV-4, has been in space for more than a year, having been launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20, 2015. Little is known as to what the vehicle is doing in orbit.

  • Modified XR‑5 Hall thruster operates successfully on orbit

    Jason RhianJuly 2nd, 2015

    The improved XR‑5 Hall Thruster (designated the XR‑5A) has passed initial orbital validation testing on the United States Air Force’s X-37B spacecraft on the AFSPC-5 mission. The Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 (OTV-4) is still on orbit, with the XR‑5A Hall Thruster experiment being carried out as part of a collaborative effort with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space […]

  • AFSPC-5: Setting sail on wings of light

    Jason RhianMay 20th, 2015

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With dire weather predictions as well as terror threats looming over Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41), the United States Air Force and United Launch Alliance unleashed the 501 version of the venerable Atlas V booster at 11:05 a.m. EDT (15:05 GMT) – the very opening of the first of two 10-minute long launch […]

  • SFI LIVE: Coverage of the launch of X-37B on ULA Atlas V with AFSPC-5 mission

    Jason RhianMay 20th, 2015

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — The U.S. Air Force and United Launch Alliance are planning on sending an Atlas V 501 rocket with the AFSPC-5 X-37B spacecraft at 10:45 a.m. EDT (14:45 GMT). The launch site will be Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. This stubby mini shuttle will have company on its fourth flight […]

  • Secretive X-37B spaceplane set for May 20 launch on ULA Atlas V 501

    Jason RhianMay 19th, 2015

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — On Wednesday, May 20, United Launch Alliance (ULA ) and the United States Air Force are planning to launch the 501 configuration of one of the Colorado-based firm’s Atlas V boosters. The payload for this flight is the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B mini shuttle. This mission will not only see the fourth flight […]

  • Launch of secretive X-37B delayed until May 20

    Joe LatrellApril 10th, 2015

    United Launch Alliance (ULA ) has announced the postponement of the Air Force Space Command mission, AFSPC-5. The current schedule puts the launch at taking place no earlier than May 20, 2015. ULA has stated that the delay was caused so as to accommodate a spacecraft issue that was encountered with the mission’s U.S. Air Force X-37B […]

  • Era of the ‘Mini Shuttle’ picks up speed with Chinese flight of Yuanzheng-1

    Jason RhianMarch 31st, 2015

    SpaceFlight Insider has been informed that the vehicle tested on March 30 – was not the Shenlong space plane pictured above, rather, a space bus upper stage. As reported on Want China Times, the Chinese National Space Agency launched the uncrewed Yuanzheng-1 (“Expedition”) mini space shuttle to orbit on March 30. It has been stated in the […]

  • USAF’s X-37B closes out OTV-3 mission with successful Vandenberg landing

    Jason RhianOctober 17th, 2014

    The United States Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane wrapped up a long-duration orbital mission – one lasting some 674 days today, Oct. 17. The unmanned mini space shuttle touched down at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:24 a.m. PDT (1024 GMT). Built by Boeing, the spacecraft was launched on Dec. 11, 2012 on the third […]

  • Classified U.S. X-37B spaceplane set to land after 22-month mission

    SpaceFlight InsiderOctober 14th, 2014

    One of the two secretive X-37B space planes produced by Boeing and operated by the U.S. Air Force – is poised to make a homecoming – after nearly two years on orbit. Also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), an X-37B plane is scheduled to touch down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today, […]