SpaceX OTV-5 Mission
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a secret military spaceplane called the X-37B sometime in September. The X-37B spaceplane is also called the Orbital Test Vehicle. This will the the program’s fifth mission, called the OTV-5 mission. After the launch, the Falcon 9 first stage will return to Earth and land at Landing Zone 1 at the Cape Canaveral Air force Station. Landing will occur about 7-8 minutes after the launch. It is still unclear if the spaceplane will launch from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center or launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
About the X-37B spaceplane for the OTV-5 mission
The X-37B spaceplane is build by Boeing Phantom Works at the Kennedy Space Center is a reusable unmanned spacecraft. It is boosted into space by a launch vehicle such as the Falcon 9 or Atlas class rockets, and can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and lands as a spaceplane similar to the Space Shuttle. The X-37B is operated by the United States Air Force for orbital spaceflight missions intended to demonstrate reusable space technologies.
- Crew: none
- Length: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
- Wingspan: 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)
- Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
- Max takeoff weight: 11,000 lb (4,990 kg)
- Electrical power: Gallium arsenide solar cells with lithium-ion batteries
- Payload bay: 7 × 4 ft (2.1 × 1.2 m)
- Orbital speed: 28,044 km/h (17,426 mph)
- Orbit: Low Earth orbit
- Orbital time: 270 days (design)