Tags:

U.S. Military's Mini Space Shuttle Lifts off

Saturday, 05 Mar 2011 07:33 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

* Information on orbital mission, cargo is classified

* Mini-shuttle is solar-powered, does not carry people

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.(Reuters) - A prototype miniature space shuttle blasted off aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Saturday for a demonstration run that could last as long as nine months.

The experimental vehicle, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, lifted off at 5:46 p.m. EST. It is the second ship to be put in space under the U.S. military's X-37B program.

The vehicles are smaller versions of NASA's space shuttle orbiters -- 29 feet long, 14 feet across. The one-third scale spaceships are solar powered, unlike the space shuttles, and are not designed to carry people.

Like OTV-1, which returned from a 224-day mission on Dec. 3, what OTV-2 will do in orbit, as well as any cargo or experiments that are aboard are classified.

They are intended to test technologies and processes for low-cost, quick-turnaround, reusable space vehicles, as well as serve as orbital testbeds for instruments that could be incorporated into future satellites.

Once operational, the X-37B could be used for a variety of missions including reconnaissance, in-space service and repair of satellites, deploying and retrieving spacecraft, and demonstrating new technologies, the Air Force said.

OTV-1 returned from flight in good condition, paving the way for launch of its sister ship with few modifications. A more detailed inspection and analysis of OTV-1 will be undertaken as part of its refurbishment.

OTV-1 has not yet been scheduled for a second launch, but the Air Force anticipates it will return to orbit.

No significant changes were made to OTV-2 as a result of the OTV-1 flight.

Minor tweaks include a reduction in the vehicle's main landing gear tire pressure by about 15 percent to help avoid repeating the blown tire that OTV-1 experienced upon touchdown at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Dec. 3.

The reduced pressure should better accommodate imperfections in Vandenberg's 15,000-foot-long runway, the Air Force said.

The vehicles were built by Boeing. (Editing by Kevin Gray and Jackie Frank)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Tennessee Teen Says 'Bless You' Resulted in Suspension

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 11:52 AM

Kendra Turner was following her parents' guidance when she said "bless you" after classmate sneezed, but says the courte . . .

Rush Limbaugh: Ditka May Be Fired Over Redskins Remarks

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 11:35 AM

Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh has expressed concerns that legendary football coach Mike Ditka will be fired by  . . .

Town Hall Shout-Down: Sen. Bernie Sanders Yells 'Shut Up!'

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 11:30 AM

A town-hall discussion over the Israel-Palestine conflict gave way to incivility for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who got c . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved