“Some people look at the sky and ask themselves, ‘What if?’. Our job is to find an answer. We have to imagine what could be imagined. Make plans for what is possible, but which is still impossible. Perhaps you came into the world just to ask the questions. Perhaps it came to be the answer. Perhaps your purpose on this planet is out of here ”. With this call, the United States Space Force recruits people for its team of researchers. On May 16, a big news is coming: the agency will launch a space mission with a Boeing X-37B.
In an announcement published last Wednesday (6), organization officials announced that the orbital test vehicle will take off on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The starting point will be Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, at Florida, marking the equipment’s sixth mission.
Barbara Barrett, secretary of the US Space Force, gave some details. “This mission will be responsible for more experiments than any previous X-37B flight and will include two NASA researches,” he said. According to her, studying the effects of space radiation on seeds and analyzing the performance of other materials in this type of environment are among the objectives. A third aims to “transform solar energy into microwave energy by radiofrequency and see how it would be transmitted to Earth”.
The news, of course, does not stop there. Called OTV-6 (Orbital Test Vehicle 6, in free translation) and Space Force 7, the contract will also deploy FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the agency itself to start five undisclosed experiments.
Research time and space sovereignty
The X-37B vehicles look like the old NASA space shuttles, but they are much smaller, being 8.8 meters long, 2.9 meters high and with a cargo area equivalent to that of a pickup truck. They allow the testing of new technologies in orbit, being able to bring back all the equipment for analysis on the ground. Much of this research is confidential.
Jay Raymond, the agency’s head of operations, believes in the potential of such investigations. “Each launch represents a milestone and a significant advance in the way we deploy resources in space in an agile and effective way,” he declared.
It is not yet known how long the OTV-6 will last, but based on previous flights, it is assumed that it will be somewhat long. The last mission remained active for 780 days. Combining the time of all of them, about 7 years and 10 months of studies have already been reached by the initiative.
“Our team continues to show the technological development necessary for our nation to dominate space. Lean, agile and progressive ”, concluded Raymond.