Tuesday, July 29, 2008

USAF Space Plane Bumps NASA Probe

The U.S Air Force and Boeing are preparing for the first flight test of an unmanned military space plane.

Launch of the first mission of the USAF/Boeing X-37B space maneuvering vehicle is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in November on an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. A landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., would follow.

The mission concept has been under development for decades as a way to broaden U.S. military space access with a winged vehicle that could perform a multitude of missions before returning to Earth for a runway landing.

The vehicle is about 27 feet long with a 15-foot wingspan.

According to the Air Force, the objective of the flight will be "risk reduction, experimentation, and operational concept development for reusable space vehicle technologies."

The mission will use an Atlas V Eastern Range launch slot that had originally been reserved for the Atlas V launch of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. That mission will slip to February-March 2009.

The reason? I bet its because if Obama gets elected the USAF won't get a chance to fly their pet.

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