New X-37B Spy Space Plane Mission to Launch in October

The USAF is keeping mum on the details of this mission

By on September 25th, 2012 14:10 GMT

Officials with the United States Air Force announce that the third flight of the X-37 robotic space plane is about to begin. While they did not go into any details about the purpose of the mission, the representatives did say that the launch would take place in October.

They have also added that the vehicle may land in Florida once it completes its long-term stay in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Most likely, the spacecraft will use the same runways that the NASA space shuttles did when they were still in active service, Space reports.

“Preparations for launch at Cape Canaveral have begun. We are on track to launch OTV-3 next month; however, the exact date remains subject to change based on range conditions, weather, etc.” announced Major Tracy Bunko, from the USAF press desk at the Pentagon.

The new vehicle is called Orbital Test Vehicle-3 (OTV-3). Its payload and target orbit are classified, as per usual. The mission before it, OTV-2, touched down in California on June 16, 2012, after spending more than 468 days in space.

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OTV-2 is seen here at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, after completing its 468-day stay in space, on June 16, 2012
   OTV-2 is seen here at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, after completing its 468-day stay in space, on June 16, 2012