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X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV)

Flyaway

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches the Sixth Orbital Test Vehicle for the U.S. Space Force

Mission dedicated to front-line responders and those affected by COVID-19

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (May 17, 2020) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

“The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health and safety conditions,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success.”

Along with OTV-6, this mission deployed FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit. The mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food. Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could be transmitted to the ground.

This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket that included a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

ULA’s next launch is NASA’s Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for July 17 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

To date ULA has a track record of 100% mission success with 139 successful launches.

With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com
 

In_A_Dream

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I don't understand the fascination with the separation stage of this recent launch. It's not like this is a classified satellite. Amateurs can track the X-37 and always have been able to.
 

Flyaway

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I don't understand the fascination with the separation stage of this recent launch. It's not like this is a classified satellite. Amateurs can track the X-37 and always have been able to.
It’s not even from this launch as they were showing this clip before this mission launched I believe.
 

TomcatViP

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Picture of the solar array with earth back beaming HPMW system (small): [@admin : can't upload *.webp* files!].

PRAM consists of a 12-in (30-cm) square tile module with a solar panel and a microwave energy transmitter. Microwaves are used because the idea is to beam energy through Earth's atmosphere, though for other targets, like the Moon, lasers might be applied due to the lack of atmosphere. According to NRL, the goal of the experiment is to study the energy conversion process, thermal performance, and efficiency of the technology.
 

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TomcatViP

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Thank you both of you guys. I was on a mobile phone. There was apparently no option to save an image under a new format.
 

Flyaway

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Via NSF. Looks like FalconSat-8 has been deployed.

USA 300
NORAD 45610
NSSDC 2020-029B
Orbit classified
 

TomcatViP

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Wonder if that is related:

SpaceNews
Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
by Sandra Erwin — August 13, 2020
X-37B spaceplane. Credit: U.S. Space Force
The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B autonomous spaceplane won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for American achievement in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.
The X-37B was one of nine nominees that included NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”
 

FighterJock

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Wonder if that is related:

SpaceNews
Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
by Sandra Erwin — August 13, 2020
X-37B spaceplane. Credit: U.S. Space Force
The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B autonomous spaceplane won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for American achievement in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.
The X-37B was one of nine nominees that included NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”
Surprised that the Hubble or the Stratolaunch aircraft never got the award instead of the X-37B, because all of the work that the X-37B has done to date has been in total secrecy.
 

Grey Havoc

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Almost sounds like the USAF don't see much of a future in store for the Space Force...
 

TomS

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Almost sounds like the USAF don't see much of a future in store for the Space Force...
Might also be that the Space Force doesn't have the infrastructure to support a Rapid Capabilities Office-type activity yet. The Space RCO is part of the larger Air Force RCO and it may depend on the larger AF RCO for administrative and budgetary support for now.
 
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