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Cape Canaveral Secret Space Plane Launch A Success

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle taxis on the flightline in June 2009 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Photo: Air Force


An Atlas V rocket launch from Cape Canaveral is a success, according to United Launch Alliance.

The launch carried the Air Force’s X-37B orbital test vehicle. Much of the vehicle’s mission remains classified, but what we do know is that it’s a reusable space place, kind of like a miniature Space Shuttle. It’s about 30 feet long, unmanned and can land on a runway like a plane.

Also hitching a ride to orbit is a test of LightSail – a crowd funded program aiming to turn the sun’s energy into space propulsion. The group leading that project is headed by Bill Nye The Science Guy, who was at the Cape for the launch.

The rocket also sent CubeSats, tiny boxes containing experiments, into orbit for organizations like NASA.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »