Sunday, January 5, 2014

Secretive X-37B Space Plane Operations To Consolidate At KSC

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida -- Boeing announced that it would consolidate its operations of the secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Financial and employment details are not being disclosed.


Prior to consolidation, the X-37B had launched from both Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, which neighbors Kennedy Space Center.


According to Boeing, investments will be made to convert the former space shuttle facility, OPF-1, to a facility that would enable the U.S. Air Force to efficiently land, recover, refurbish, and re-launch the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), a 29-foot-long, reusable unmanned space plane.
 

"This project has been a great example of state and local agencies working together to create an optimal toolbox of capabilities for the customer," said Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, the state of Florida's spaceport authority and aerospace development agency. "The commercialization of OPF-1 through Space Florida's project funding was a critical factor in attracting Boeing to Florida.  We are pleased to see our partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation and local communities through spaceport projects contributing significantly to the continued growth of Florida’s aerospace economy."
   



The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.


Boeing touts that the X-37B design combines the best of aircraft and spacecraft design into an affordable, unmanned space-based test platform. Program objectives include space experimentation, risk reduction, and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.


PHOTO: The second Boeing [NYSE: BA] X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, built for the U.S. Air Force, is shown above during encapsulation within the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 5-meter fairing at Astrotech in Titusville, Florida, on February 8, 2011 / Credit: Boeing


OTV Landing Video Taken By USAF: