Launch of USA-240
|Operator||U.S. Air Force|
|Mission duration||Elapsed: 1 year, 7 months and 14 days|
|Spacecraft type||Boeing X-37B|
|Launch mass||5,400 kg (11,900 lb)|
|Power||Deployable solar array, batteries|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||11 December 2012, 18:03:00UTC|
|Rocket||Atlas V 501|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-41|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|Semi-major axis||6,729.05 km (4,181.24 mi)|
|Perigee||345 km (214 mi)|
|Apogee||370 km (230 mi)|
|Epoch||22 June 2014, 19:10:15 UTC|
USA-240 is the second flight of the first Boeing X-37B, the Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (X-37B OTV-3), an American unmanned robotic vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing spaceplane. It was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on 11 December 2012. It is operating in low Earth orbit. Its mission designation is part of the USA series.
The spaceplane is operated by the United States Air Force, which has not revealed the specific objectives of the mission or identity of the mission's payload. The Air Force stated only that the, "mission will incorporate the lessons learned during the refurbishment process on OTV-1. As the X-37B program is examining the affordability and reusability of space vehicles, validation through testing is vital to the process. We are excited to see how this vehicle performs on a second flight."
OTV-3, the second mission for the first X-37B, and the third X-37B mission overall, was originally scheduled to be launched on 25 October 2012, but was postponed because of an engine issue with the Atlas V launch vehicle. The X-37B was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on 11 December 2012. As of March 2014[update], the vehicle remains in orbit, and broke the program's own endurance record by passing 470 days in space.
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