The missile Falcon Heavy to SpaceX It took off on a Thursday night let's say US military space drone X-37B on a research missionThe company owned by the businessman announced Elon Musk.
After weeks of successive delays, the missile took off at 20:07 (01:07 GMT on Friday) from Kennedy Space Center in state Florida (southeast).
The liftoff was broadcast live on SpaceX's website. There was no information available about the fate of the unmanned space plane, which is an unmanned shuttle carrying out its seventh mission.
But the Pentagon revealed There is very little data about the space drone and its new missiontentatively scheduled for December 7.
In the statement announcing the launch, SpaceX limited itself to mentioning the code name the Pentagon provided for the mission: USF-52.
“Falcon Heavy launched the USSF-52 mission into orbit from Launch Pad 39A“The Pentagon had previously announced that the seventh mission, the X-37B, would include “multiple, advanced experiments,” SpaceX reported.
“These tests include operating the reusable spaceplane in new orbital systems, experimenting with future space domain knowledge technologies and investigating the effects of radiation on materials provided by NASA,” NASA's Rapid Capabilities Office announced last month. air forces.
According to the statement, This is the first time the X-37B has been launched with a Falcon Heavy missileIt is one of the most powerful rockets and is capable of transporting payloads of up to 26,700 kg into the depths of space.
The X-37B, shrouded in absolute secrecy, made its maiden flight in 2010 and spent more than a decade in space. During its first six missions, according to what its manufacturer, the American aerospace company Boeing, announced, after it completed its sixth mission in November 2022.
The X-37B was designed for the US Air Force by United Launch Alliancea company jointly established by Boeing And Lockheed Martin.
It is nine meters long, has a wingspan of 4.5 metres, and is powered by solar panels.
Its launch, supported by a Falcon Heavy rocket, comes two weeks after China placed its reusable robotic spacecraft, called Shenlong, on December 14. State Press Agency Xinhua She stated that it had been planned for “a period of time” to conduct scientific experiments aimed at “providing technical support for the peaceful use of space.”
(Information from Agence France-Presse)
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