A clandestine mini-space shuttle and a citizen-funded prototype solar sailing satellite lifted off on Wednesday (May 20) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch began the 4th mission for the U.S. Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), which this time is carrying an experimental thruster and a NASA materials study. The Planetary Society's first LightSail, one of ten CubeSats that hitched a ride atop the Atlas V, will demonstrate deploying the large reflective sail that will tack into the solar wind on its primary mission.
The U.S. Air Force's classified X-37B space shuttle is back in orbit, having launched on its fourth flight, with a prototype solar sailing satellite in tow. The unmannned Orbital Test Vehicle soared from Cape Canaveral atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
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