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X-37B Flying Again

Let’s hope it’s up to all sorts of no good.

The Air Force launched its third Orbital Test Vehicle, the X-37B, Dec. 11, 2012, at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The third launch follows closely behind a record-setting 469 days in space for the second OTV. (Courtesy photo)

The Air Force launched its third Orbital Test Vehicle, the X-37B, Dec. 11, 2012, at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The third launch follows closely behind a record-setting 469 days in space for the second OTV. (Courtesy photo)

Air Force launches 3rd X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

In the next installment to improve space capability and further develop an affordable, reusable space vehicle, the Air Force conducted its third X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launch here on December 11, officials said.

The launch comes on the heels of the successful flight of OTV-2, which made an autonomous landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 11 after a record 469 days in space.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the strides we’ve made in this program and the success of the X-37B vehicle on the first two flights,” said Mr. Richard McKinney, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space. “However, it is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental vehicle and a third mission is still relatively young for a test program. This is the first re-flight of a vehicle so that is certainly a key objective for us. We have only just begun what is a very systematic checkout of the system.”

This is OTV-1, the first one that flew in 2010. See Secret Space Plane is Back for more.

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