After postponing the initial plans for 24 hours due to bad weather, the U.S. Space Force finally launched a top-secret autonomous X-37B plane on May 17th. It took off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 9:14 a.m. EDT from the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral.
The aspects of today’s X-37B’s mission have not been revealed, but the Space Force has mentioned numerous experiments such as payloads to produce food and examine the effects that radiation can have on various materials, plus PRAM-FX, a device that will test the idea of sending solar power to Earth via microwave beams.
This is X-37B’s sixth secretive launch so far, carrying the most experiments by far.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 with a new set of Starlink Internet satellites was initially set to launch right after Atlas V, but due to blustery winds born from developing tropical depressions off Florida’s East Coast, that boost was moved to May 19th 3:10 a.m. EDT.