WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Air Force successfully launched on Wedneday the reusable unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, United Launch Alliance, which provides launch services to the US government, said in a statement.
“A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the Air Force Space Command 5 (AFSPC-5) satellite for the US Air Force,” ULA said on Wednesday.
The mission of the X-37B, according to the statement, is to conduct experiments on the space craft and tests on advanced space technology that will be examined upon returning to Earth.
Thursday’s launch is the fourth successful of the X-37B series.
The X-37B from the third launch returned to Earth in October 2014 after 674 days in orbit.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA), a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture providing launch services to the US government by using the Russian RD-180 rocket engine in the first stage to power the Atlas V launch vehicle into space.