HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force officials launch Atlas V carrying X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launches April 22, 2010, from Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Courtesy photo)

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launches April 22, 2010, from Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Courtesy photo)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFNS) -- Members of the 45th Space Wing here launched a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle carrying an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle at 7:52 p.m. EDT April 22 here.

The X-37B, making its first space flight, will provide a flexible space test platform to conduct various experiments and allow satellite sensors, subsystems, components and associated technology to be efficiently transported to and from the space environment where it will need to function.

A number of new technologies will also be tested on the X-37B itself.

"If these technologies on the vehicle prove to be as good as we estimate, it will make our access to space more responsive, perhaps cheaper, and push us in the vector toward being able to react to warfighter needs more quickly," said Gary Payton, the Air Force deputy undersecretary for space Programs.

"This launch helps ensure that our warfighters will be provided the capabilities they need in the future," said Col. André Lovett, the 45th Space Wing vice commander and launch decision authority for the mission. "The 45th Space Wing (members are) proud to launch this historic mission and continue our commitment to assuring access to the high frontier."

The mission marked a number of important firsts.

"As the first U.S. unmanned re-entering space vehicle, the first of its kind, it has been remarkably easy to work with," said Lt. Col. Erik Bowman, the 45th Launch Support Squadron commander. "Processing and preparations went extremely smooth, and there were absolutely no delays in the vehicle processing. Overall there was great cooperation between the Air Force (officials) and industry teams of Boeing, (United Launch Alliance) and Astrotech, where we processed the spacecraft, to make sure everything went smoothly."

The mission was also the first launch of an Atlas V with the 501 configuration, requiring no solid rocket motors, and the first launch in five years to involve a 5-meter class fairing, Colonel Bowman said. "This vehicle is light enough to launch without the solid rocket motors even with the larger fairing, making this a rather unique configuration."

The X-37B program directly supports the Department of Defense's technology risk reduction efforts for new satellite systems. It will provide an "on-orbit laboratory" test environment to prove new technology and components before those technologies are committed to operational satellite programs.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Riveting story! Learn more about Ms. Mae Krier, a #WorldWarII pioneer who joined legions of other Rosies in the wor… https://t.co/0QUBOzh4Rr
RT @HollomanAFB: Happy #NationalPuppyDay! Our #MilitaryWorkingDogs protect and defend us each and everyday. Check out these #adorable photo…
RT @AirForceMag: HIT THE BOOKS: Check out a non-exhaustive list of Air Force Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein's reading recommendations from…
Some of us are women, but we are all Airmen! #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/pcBtWWIiE6
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "Celebration of #diversity and making sure we understand the flesh colored band aids is not abou… https://t.co/iUqNbSpCPB
.@RAFMildenhall #KC135 crew strengthened relationship with Romanian #AirForce through air refueling training. For m… https://t.co/8dGvm2HQwC
RT @SecAFOfficial: Mother nature can’t beat the 55th Wing! We will recover @Offutt_AFB from the devastating flood. Amazing American 🇺🇸 spir…
Today the #AirForce announced a new Infrastructure Investment Strategy following a yearlong review that brings a ne… https://t.co/i1yDRQkaPl
RT @Offutt_AFB: As the water has begun to recede, Team Offutt is in full recovery mode. https://t.co/6QPZ96UNZY
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thanks to Iowa leaders who just signed a bill to recognize out of state licenses for our military spouses! @SenJoniErnst
RT @SecAFOfficial: This will make a difference on our bases for decades to come...getting more out of every dollar we spend on #infrastruct
See how our aircraft maintainers keep our #F15s safe and mission ready! @142ndFW https://t.co/H6CrSoCCIg
RT @NASA: During today's spacewalk, we'll be taking questions about our @NASA_Astronauts' excursion outside of the @Space_Station. Ask ques…
RT @US_Stratcom: Global #StrategicDeterrence! Integrating #B52s from @US_EUCOM & @INDOPACOM to conduct simultaneous theater familiarization…
The #KC135 Stratotanker nose art "Black Jack" dates back to the #BloodyHundredth's battle-hardened days of… https://t.co/43zMmRWnsP
Whether our aircraft are taking off, landing or in need of assistance, air traffic controller #Airmen are active ye… https://t.co/eBlrhUI7mQ
#WeCanDoIt! The #USAF wishes a #HappyBirthday to one of the original “Rosie the Riveters,” Ms. Mae Krier, who turne… https://t.co/n24xC5NClI
RT @Offutt_AFB: A 1,000 yr flood wasn’t enough to stop our professionals from the flying mission. Projecting global combat airpower is neve…
Are you fueled for the day? #USAF #F15E Strike Eagle refuels from a 908th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron… https://t.co/SXIXjZa8pd
The #AFIT kicked off its #centennial anniversary celebration, recognizing how the men and women who study at AFIT t… https://t.co/S8x9Qn6GH3