Postponing the launch of the X-37B spaceplane; Find out the new history

Postponing the launch of the X-37B spaceplane;  Find out the new history

The launch schedule for the US Space Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane has been postponed. The mission, called USSF-52, was scheduled to take place on December 7, but has now been postponed to December 10. The X-37B will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

The date change was due to changes in launch schedules and availability at Launch Complex-39A (LC-39A), according to statement From the Space Force.

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In an email sent to Space.com website“We partner closely with our launch service providers and the entire team is focused on executing a successful mission,” said Commodore Christine Banzenhagen of Space Launch Delta 45.

  • This will be the first time the reusable spacecraft has been launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket, which has implications for its secret mission;
  • The previous five X-37B missions were flown using United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rockets, the last of which was launched aboard a Falcon 9;
  • During its final mission, the X-37B spent 908 days in orbit and returned to Earth on November 12, 2022, landing on the runway at Kennedy Space Center, previously used to land space shuttles;
  • The Falcon Heavy has the ability to carry heavier payloads to higher orbits than the Atlas V and Falcon 9, which will enable the X-37B to launch further into space than ever before.

USSF-52 mission objectives

While little is known about the spacecraft’s operational capabilities, some of the goals of the USSF-52 mission include operating the X-37B in new orbital systems and conducting experiments using space domain awareness technologies. One such experiment involves testing the effects of long-term spaceflight radiation on plant seeds.

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This will be the first time the X-37B has displayed the Space Force logo, and prior to launch, the vehicle was encased in one of its special payload covers.

While this is the first time the Falcon Heavy has been used to launch an X-37B, it is not the first time this rocket has been used by the Space Force, which has approved SpaceX to launch national security payloads using reused stages.

The side thrusters that will launch with USSF-52 have flown four previous missions, including two Space Force launches in November 2022 and January 2023.

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