The Atlas V booster on Sunday successfully launched into EarthвЂ™s orbit with the U.S. Air Force Space Shuttle X-37B unmanned aerial vehicle, United Launch Alliance said.
The shuttle was launched using the ULA Atlas V launch vehicle, the first stage of which is equipped with the Russian RD-180 engine, was launched from the 41st launch complex at the launch site at Cape Canaveral (Florida) at 9:14 a.m. East Coast of the United States.
Initially, the launch was supposed to take place on Saturday but was postponed for a day due to bad weather in the area of the cosmodrome.
According to unofficial sources, the launch of the shuttle is designed to break in the technologies of a promising interceptor that can inspect other people's space satellites and, if necessary, destroy them. A spaceship can quickly change orbits and maneuver, deliver to orbit and return small loads to Earth.
On a spaceship that combines the properties of an airplane and a spacecraft, a service module with equipment has been installed to increase the capabilities of experiments, most of which are classified.
Regarding Pentagon official information, an experiment will be conducted onboard the X-37B in the interests of the US Navy's research laboratory to convert solar energy into radio frequency microwave energy, followed by studying the possibility of its transfer to Earth. Such technologies can provide virtually unlimited flight time for electric unmanned aerial vehicles and extend the life of satellites, as well as support the actions of armed forces in remote areas on Earth.
In the interests of NASA, it is also planned to conduct two experiments to study the effects of radiation and other cosmic phenomena on materials and seeds of plants for growing food. In addition, the mini-shuttle will put into orbit a small satellite FalconSat-8 developed by the US Air Force Academy for a series of experiments.
The X-37B spacecraft, whose length is about 9 meters and a wingspan of 4.5 meters, has already completed five successful flights since 2010 to perform secret experiments in orbit in the interests of the US Air Force.