The X-37B space plane's next mission — called Orbital Test Vehicle-3, or OTV-3, because it is the program's third-ever spaceflight — is scheduled to launch aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) sometime in October.
"Preparations for launch at Cape Canaveral have begun," said Major Tracy Bunko at the Pentagon’s Air Force press desk. "We are on track to launch OTV-3 next month; however, the exact date remains subject to change based on range conditions, weather, etc."
As with the X-37B program's two previous spaceflights — OTV-1 and OTV-2 — OTV-3's payload and mission details are classified. But the focus remains on testing vehicle capabilities and proving the utility and cost-effectiveness of a reusable spacecraft, Bunko told SPACE.com.
Bunko said in an earlier communiqué that this third flight will use the same X-37B spacecraft that flew the first test flight, the OTV-1 mission, back in 2010.
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