SpaceX delays launch of US military space drone X-37B

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SpaceX, the US-based spacecraft manufacturer, has unveiled changes to the launch schedule for the US Space Force space drone X-37B.

In a recent statement, SpaceX announced that the Falcon Heavy rocket’s launch, scheduled for December 10, 2023, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, has been moved to occur on December 11, 2023.

SpaceX is targeting Monday, December 11 at 8:14 p.m. ET for Falcon Heavy’s launch of the USSF-52 mission to orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup launch opportunity is available during the same time on Tuesday, December 12. A live webcast of this mission will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff,” the company wrote.

“This will be the fifth launch and landing of these Falcon Heavy side boosters, which previously supported USSF-44, USSF-67, Hughes JUPTER 3, and NASA’s Psyche mission. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters will land on SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida,” SpaceX concluded.

Originally scheduled for December 7, 2023, the launch faced delays that were reportedly related to logistical challenges and pad availability issues, leading to the rescheduling.

According to the United States Space Force, since its inaugural launch in 2010, the X-37B space drone has spent 3,774 days in space. In the upcoming mission, the uncrewed vehicle will conduct various tests, including “experimenting with space domain awareness technologies and investigating the radiation effects on NASA materials,” the Space Force explained.

It will be the first time the Boeing-built space drone flies with SpaceX.

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