The U.S. military’s X-37B space plane blasted off Thursday on another secretive mission that’s expected to last at least a couple of years.
The reusable space plane, which looks like a miniature shuttle carrying classified experiments was launched on Thursday. No one is onboard.
It marked the seventh flight of an X-37B, which has logged more than 10 years in orbit since its debut in 2010.
The last flight, the longest one yet, lasted 2 1/2 years before ending on a runway at Kennedy a year ago.
Space Force officials would not say how long this orbital test vehicle would remain aloft or what’s on board other than a NASA experiment to gauge the effects of radiation on materials.
Built by Boeing, the X-37B resembles NASA’s retired space shuttles. But they’re just one-fourth the size at 29 feet long. No astronauts are needed; the X-37B has an autonomous landing system.
They take off like rockets and land like planes. Their orbits are between 150 and 500miles high. There are two X-37Bs based in a former shuttle hangar at Kennedy.
The article Military Space Plane blasts off for another secretive Mission first appeared on NBC News .