This Article is From Mar 07, 2011

US Air Force launches experimental space plane

Cape Canaveral, Florida: The US Air Force has launched an experimental space plane, X-37B, from Cape Canaveral in Florida over the weekend. An attempt on last Friday to launch the plane was cancelled due to heavy rains, lightning and strong winds near the launch area.

The first space plane was launched in April last year and landed in December at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after a 270-day mission. The Air Force says the second mission of the unmanned, winged space plane is for further testing.

The ultimate purpose of the X-37B and details about the craft has long been a mystery, leading to extensive speculation.

Some amateur space-watchers claim to have tracked the previous flight and some analysts say they believe the recorded orbits suggest the craft was used to assess the possibility of weapons delivery from space.

Others believe the flight is more typical of a military surveillance orbit.

The X-37B orbital test vehicle, built by Boeing, resembles a small shuttle. It has a length of over 29 feet and features two angled tail fins, with stub wings.