The U.S Air Force successfully launched its high-tech drone X-37B, placing the reusable vehicle into orbit for its sixth secretive mission in space.
The drone, which resembles a smaller version of the manned space shuttles retired by the U.S space program in 2011, was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Air Force said. It will spend months in orbit, remotely conducting a series of experiments.
"Congratulations on the 6th mission of the X-37B reusable spacecraft," Defense Secretary Mark Esper tweeted shortly after the launch.
The huge Atlas V launch vehicle took off with an earth-shaking roar at 6:44pm (13H14 GMT) to loft the drone, also known as an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), into space.
The drone in turn will deploy a small research satellite dubbed FalconSat-8, to carry out additional experiments, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett explained earlier this month, elaborating on what up to now has been a highly secretive project.
Asianet.in/News Desk: Asianet Online