Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two Launches of Military Space Technology

The Minotaur 4 Lite rocket launches the Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2a from California.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee

Thursday evening saw two launches on two coasts of experimental military aerospace vehicles that could have a profound influence on future military operations and also on future civilian and commercial space developments.

The X-37B robotic space plane, with a mission of undisclosed length and objectives, lifted off on an Atlas V rocket in a spectacular sunset launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Less than an hour before, the first Minotaur IV rocket launched the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 from Vandenberg AFB, California. This vehicle is a test of hypersonic flight technology for a possible future weapon system known as Conventional Prompt Global Strike, or CPGS. More links here.

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