A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launches USSF-52 carrying a United States Space Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A. (U.S. Space Force photo)
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United States Space Force launches seventh X-37B mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (AFNS) -- The United States Space Force, in partnership with SpaceX, successfully launched USSF-52 on a Falcon Heavy rocket at 8:07 p.m. Eastern Time, Dec. 28, 2023, from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

The SpaceX rocket carried into orbit an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), marking the seventh space flight for the X-37B program and its first launch on a Falcon Heavy. The X-37B tests include operating in new orbital regimes, experimenting with space domain awareness technologies and investigating radiation effects to NASA materials.
“My memories go back to the Gemini and Mercury programs,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “This is an incredible event, and I think about the teamwork over all those decades that has led to what has been a revolutionary improvement in space travel capability. We have come so far, and it’s been teamwork by the government; the Air Force and now the Space Force, which didn’t exist until a few years ago; NASA; industry teams; and so many others that all contributed to what we saw tonight.”
The X-37B is a reusable, unmanned spacecraft that strengthens the United States’ future in space by conducting technology experiments that expedite the development of next-generation capabilities.
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