Cape Canaveral, Fla. (UPI) Mar 4, 2011
The Florida launch of the U.S. Air Force's secret X-37B space plane was canceled Friday due to weather with another attempt set for Saturday, officials said.
The unmanned mini-shuttle, dubbed Orbital Test Vehicle 2, was supposed to launch from Cape Canaveral at 3:50 p.m. Friday atop an Atlas 5 rocket, but cloudy and windy conditions caused officials to scrub the attempt, SPACE.com reported.
The cancellation did not come as a complete surprise, as Air Force officials in the days before the launch attempt were predicting a 70-percent chance of a delay because of weather.
The launch will mark the X-37B's second mission. The Air Force's other X-37B, OTV 1, was launched last April and remained in orbit until December when it landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The X-37B's cost, payloads and missions are classified, with some experts saying they believe the X-37B is testing hardware for the next generation of spy satellites.
Because of the secrecy, some concern has been raised -- particularly by Russia and China -- that the vehicle is some sort of space weapon, a charge repeatedly denied by Air Force officials.
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X-37B Set For Launch
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Mar 2, 2011
The 45th Space Wing is set to launch an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41 on March 4, 2011. The rocket will carry an Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV). The launch window for this Air Force mission opens at 3:39 p.m. EST. The X-37B will provide a flexible space test platform to conduct various experiments and allow satellite sensors, subsystems, ... read more
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