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OTV-3 USA-240 2012 12 12.jpg
Launch of USA-240
Mission type Demonstration
Operator U.S. Air Force
COSPAR ID 2012-071A
SATCAT № 39025
Mission duration Elapsed: 1 year, 7 months and 14 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Boeing X-37B
Manufacturer Boeing
Launch mass 5,400 kg (11,900 lb)[1]
Power Deployable solar array, batteries[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 11 December 2012, 18:03:00 (2012-12-11UTC18:03Z) UTC[2]
Rocket Atlas V 501
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Contractor United Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 6,729.05 km (4,181.24 mi)[3]
Eccentricity 0.0018443[3]
Perigee 345 km (214 mi)[3]
Apogee 370 km (230 mi)[3]
Inclination 43.50 degrees[3]
Period 91.56 minutes[3]
Mean motion 15.73[3]
Epoch 22 June 2014, 19:10:15 UTC[3]

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."[4][5]


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,[6] but was postponed because of an engine issue with the Atlas V launch vehicle.[7] The X-37B was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on 11 December 2012.[4][5] As of March 2014, the vehicle remains in orbit, and broke the program's own endurance record by passing 470 days in space.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter D. "X-37B OTV 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "OTV 3: Launch information". National Space Science Data Center via Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Peat, Chris (22 June 2014). "X-37B - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "OTV 3". National Space Science Data Center via Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Badger, Eric (11 December 2012). "Air Force launches 3rd X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle". U.S. Air Force. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Ray, Justin (18 September 2012). "Another Atlas 5 readied to launch mini space shuttle". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  7. ^ McCullough, Amy (25 October 2012). "X-37B Launch Delayed". Air Force Magazine. Air Force Association. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  8. ^ David, Leonard (27 March 2014). "US Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Shatters Orbital Endurance Record". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Hoffman, Mike (1 April 2014). "Air Force’s X-37B Breaks Orbit Record". Retrieved 2 April 2014.