[SatNews] Atlas V will launch AFSPC-5 for the U.S. Air Force on a mystery mission.
No earlier than Wednesday, May 20, 2015
From Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Mission Description: This mission will be launched in support of the national defense.
Launch Notes: AFSPC-5 marks ULA’s 96th mission since the company was founded in 2006 and the fifth ULA launch of 2015. AFSPC-5 also will be the 54th Atlas V launch since the vehicle’s inaugural mission in 2002. The Air Force has two such space planes.
The United States Air Force's X-37B space plane will launch on its fourth mystery mission next month.
The unmanned X-37B space plane looks like a miniature version of NASA's now-retired space shuttle orbiter. The solar-powered spacecraft are approximately 29 feet long by 9.5 feet tall (8.8 by 2.9 meters), with a wingspan of 15 feet (4.6 m) and a payload bay the size of a pickup-truck bed. Such as the Space Shuttle, the X-37B launches vertically atop a rocket and lands horizontally on a runway.
"We are excited about our fourth X-37B mission," Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in a statement. "With the demonstrated success of the first three missions, we’re able to shift our focus from initial checkouts of the vehicle to testing of experimental payloads."