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Air Force Launches Secretive X-37B

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The Air Force launched a secretive space plane into orbit Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida. And they’re not sure when it’s returning to Earth. Perched atop an Atlas V rocket, the Air Force’s unmanned and reusable X-37B made its first flight after a decade in development shrouded in mystery; most of the mission goals remain unknown to the public.

The Air Force has fended off statements calling the X-37B a space weapon, or a space-based drone to be used for spying or delivering weapons from orbit. In a conference call with reporters, deputy undersecretary for the Air Force for space programs Gary Payton acknowledged much of the current mission is classified. But perhaps the most intriguing answer came when he was asked by a reporter wanting to cover the landing as to when the X-37B would be making its way back to the planet.

“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure,” Payton said.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/04/air-force-launches-first-reusable-unmanned-space-vehicle/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+wired/index+%28Wired:+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29

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