Next X-37B Launch About a Month Away

The Air Force’s second X-37B reusable spaceplane, OTV-2, is now at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., as preparations continue for its maiden space launch scheduled for March 4. Spaceflight Now reports that OTV-2’s on-orbit activities will be classified much like the inaugural flight of its predecessor, Orbital Test Vehicle 1, which returned to Earth on Dec. 3 after 224 days in space. Like OTV-1, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will carry OTV-2 into space inside its nosecone. OTV-2 arrived at Cape Canaveral in early January; its mating with the Atlas V is scheduled for late February, according to the report. USAF officials don’t expect to make any major changes to OTV-2 based on post-mission inspections of OTV-1. The latter blew a tire upon landing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., but otherwise held up well to the rigors of space travel. Boeing built both X-37 vehicles.