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Introducing the Great Unknown: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launches US Military’s Mysterious X-37B Aircraft

On June 13, 2021, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the X-37B, one of the US military’s most fascinating secrets, into space. The X-37B is an autonomous, unmanned spacecraft that has been in service since 2010 and is now being used to carry out mission objectives for the US military. The X-37B is a reusable spaceplane, resembling the size and shape of a small satellite, and is capable of flying in low Earth orbit. This spaceplane weighs 11,000 pounds and is approximately 29-feet long making it the ideal size for launching and deploying objects into space. The mission objective of the X-37B is to test and evaluate components for future space craft and to develop new technology for use in future space exploration. The Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral was the sixth mission for the X-37B and it is believed that the craft will stay in orbit for up to 9 months. The previous five missions have stayed for 674 to 780 days. The X-37B program is shrouded in secrecy due to its highly sensitive mission objectives and what exactly it is carrying on board is still a mystery. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has stated that the mission was not related to SpaceX’s own projects, but rather to the military. Regardless of the secrecy and speculation around the mission, it is safe to say that the US military has been pushing the boundaries of space exploration, technology, and security with the X-37B program over the past decade. The launch of the Falcon Heavy carrying the X-37B marks a significant milestone in space exploration and marks an important partnership between SpaceX and the US military. It is encouraging to see the US military honor the technology and innovation that will help us to be more secure in our own inner atmosphere, our Earth, and furthering our exploration into the depths of space.