Next launch: Falcon 9 rocket flying from pad 39A Thursday, Sept. 7

posted by WMMB -

Our next launch from the Cape will be a Falcon 9 rocket flying from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Liftoff is now targeted for Thursday, Sept. 7. The launch time is classified secret for now, but will be announced a day or so before launch. The Falcon 9 first stage is expected to return to a touchdown on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The SpaceX booster will be carrying the winged X-37B orbital test vehicle into Earth orbit for the Air Force. This will be the fifth X-37B mission. The small unmanned spaceplane likely will spend more than a year in orbit doing -- well, no one who doesn't have clearance really knows what it does up there.

What we do know is that once in space, the Boeing-built spacecraft will deploy a large electricity-generating solar array from its cargo bay.

As the fourth mission did, this X-37B mission is expected to land at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility runway, and then be towed to its hangar at KSC -- the same complex once used to process Space Shuttle orbiters.

Stay tuned to WMMB for updates on the launch and live coverage of the final moments of the countdown when it happens.

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