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U.S. military tests X-37B reusable spaceship
An unmanned Atlas rocket carrying a miniature space shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday on a technology test flight that could last as long as nine months.
The 20-story rocket, built by United Launch Alliance -- a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co -- lifted off at 7:52 p.m. EDT and soared over the Atlantic Ocean, heading toward orbit.
The Air Force Space Command, based in Colorado Springs, which will oversee the mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, has classified details of the prototype shuttle's payload, experiments and planned orbital operations.
The point of the project, started by NASA in the late 1990s and later adopted by the military, is to test a next-generation space shuttle -- the world's only reusable operational spaceship -- to try to trim time between flights and cut costs, said Gary Payton, Air Force deputy undersecretary for space programs.
Source:Digital Media Online.
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