February 24, 2024

The next launch with SpaceX is imminent

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A SpaceX “Falcon Heavy” rocket carries the mysterious X-37B glider into space. (File photo) © IMAGO/Craig Bailey/FLORIDA TODAY

The US Army is sending the mysterious X-37B glider into space again. What exactly he does there remains largely secret.

Kennedy Space Center – When SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launches, it will be for heavy cargo or high Earth orbit. Most recently, this type of rocket carried NASA's Psyche probe into space. However, the next time the rocket is launched, it won't be entirely clear what it's about, because some of the payload is secret. Falcon Heavy is scheduled to bring the US Air Force and Space Forces' X-37B space glider into Earth orbit on the night of December 28-29. Many details are unknown.

The glider looks like a small “space shuttle”, and its take-off and landing are always accompanied by many rumors. As early as 2010, there was speculation that the X-37B glider could be used as a spy satellite or used to transport weapons into space. The glider is also suspected of spying on China's former space station, Tiangong-1. Rumors of espionage activity persist, although there are no confirmations.

8.92 metres
2.9 metres
4.55 metres
Gallium arsenide solar cells with lithium ion batteries

The X-37B military space shuttle is surrounded by rumors

In fact, spacecraft activities in Earth orbit are a closely guarded secret. Some parts of the cargo – such as NASA's own experiments – became known during previous launches. The space glider has also been known to launch small satellites. However, the further use of the US Army's “space plane” remains largely unknown. The payload of the glider, which can land on the runway like an airplane, is largely secret.

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It is not known how long the next stay in Earth's orbit will last. However, the duration of previous missions suggests a longer stay in space. Each X-37B flight into space previously took several hundred days. There are no people on board. After the final launch, the X-37B orbited the Earth for a total of 908 days – the longest sojourn in space for a glider to date.

The X-37B space glider looks like
The X-37B space glider looks like a small “space shuttle”. A mysterious little spaceship has been orbiting Earth without a pilot – most recently for more than 900 days. (Archive photo) © IMAGO/US Space Force

SpaceX is supposed to launch the X-37B into space

The US Army Space Shuttle can change its orbit in Earth's orbit, making it undetectable by observers on Earth for a period of time and allowing it to continue its covert activities unobserved. The next launch of the mysterious glider is already the seventh flight into space. According to official military information, the X-37B is used primarily to test new space technologies. What really lies behind it remains a secret. (unpaid bill)

The editor wrote this article and then used an AI language model to improve at her own discretion. All information has been carefully checked. Find out more about our AI principles here.