Spaceplane Bumps NASA Moon Mission

Actually, Florida Today reported July 29 that NASA decided it needed more time for testing of its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, slated to launch aboard an Atlas V in December, so it’s now shooting for February 2009. That left the window open for the Air Force-Boeing Orbital Launch Vehicle, the X-37B, which also will launch via an Atlas V. The launch of the military spaceplane, according to a July 30 blog on Wired, is now set for November at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. When the Air Force announced the program in 2006, it said thefirst couple of flights would be used to demonstrate that the reusable spacecraft can reach orbit and return to Earth. After that, the service would entrust it with payloads.