US Air Force launches unmanned X-37B mini-space craft [Kuwait News Agency]Al Bawaba Ltd.
| WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (KUNA) -- The United States Air Force launched its X-37B mini-space shuttle for a mysterious classified mission on Tuesday.
Little is known about the intended use of the space craft, which was launched for its third classified mission at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It was built by Boeing's Phantom Works in California. Measuring 29 feet in length, it is one-fourth of the size of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shuttle orbiter.
The X-37B is an unmanned, reusable, solar-powered, robotic vehicle with no life support systems. It is capable of remaining in orbit up to 270 days, in comparison; shuttles were powered by fuel cells that limited its orbital flights. The longest shuttle mission lasted 17 days.
The second X-37B mission flew for 469 days.
Notably, it can re-enter Earth's atmosphere and land autonomously unpiloted.
Boeing build two X-37B spacecraft for orbital flight, but the projects total cost is unknown because the budget is classified. (end) hy.bs KUNA 112343 Dec 12NNNN
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