Air Force mysterious X-37B space plane returns to orbit May 16

While we had previously received only vague indications of what the aircraft was carrying, the Space Force is more direct this time. In its announcement, the military division revealed that the sixth mission of the X-37B will deploy a small satellite called FalconSat-8 which was developed by the US Air Force Academy.

As Gizmodo note, the military may be more willing to share information this time, as the mission objectives are not as sensitive: FalconSat-8 is an educational platform that will include five experimental payloads. The flight will also include two NASA experiments to study the effects of radiation on seeds and materials used to grow food in space.

Randy Walden, director and executive director of the program for the Air Force Bureau of Rapid Capabilities, described the sixth mission as a “big step” for the X-37B program. It is the first time that the aircraft has used a service module to host experiments, which will allow it to host more experimental payloads in the future.

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