SpaceX Launches X-37B


A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched a classified military space plane from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday night. 

The Dec. 28 launch marked the seventh mission for Space Forces’ X-37B space plane and the first time it launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket, according to SpaceNews. The mission had been delayed several times due to weather and undisclosed technical issues. 

Built by Boeing, the X-37B spacecraft is designed to operate in low-earth orbit—some 150 to 500 miles above the earth. The launch was streamed on SpaceX’s website; however, the live broadcast was terminated ahead of the X-37B deployment into its designated orbit. While its mission remains unknown, CNN reported the fully autonomous X-37B has a history of “carrying out research on concepts such as relaying solar energy from space for use back on earth and studying the effects of radiation on seeds used to grow food.”

The mission marked the 97th launch for SpaceX this year.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Our nation is $34T in debt yet the Air Force doesn’t feel it needs to tell those who pay for these things what they are good for. Our military needs to concentrate on securing our borders, its primary mission according to the Constitution.

    • Might want to ask good ol Uncle Sam just what all it’s spending money on. Example watching shrimp to see how fast they can run/move. There’s so much pork spending by the government that makes zero sense.

      Agree the border must be made secure. We’re the only country in the world that I know of with such porous borders. Giving priority over our citizens financially wise, allowed to vote, the list goes on. I see it’s going to remain this way until an administration lawfully voted in takes the reins.

      (Just to note, I’m an independent so please don’t use that maga or dummercrat etc etc. claims).

  2. Well, ignoring the politics of this, I think this is interesting: “The mission marked the 97th launch for SpaceX this year.” Every few days or so these folks are launching a rocket into space, just another boring day in aviation. Nothing about this on the news. And I assume most of these launches work. Seems fairly impressive to me.