US military launches space plane

Air force sends unmanned X-37B into orbit on secret mission.

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    The United States Air Force (USAF) has launched a secret space plane into orbit, carried in the nose of an Atlas 5 rocket.

    The USAF is not calling the X-37B a weapon or anything else, and the classified mission was broadcast live, but only for several minutes into the flight.

    The plane, built by Boeing, was originally part of a Nasa programme but was later abandoned and turned over to a secretive USAF unit.

    There are no details on how much it costs or when it is coming back to earth, but when it does return the unmanned craft will land itself, using the onboard autopilot.

    Al Jazeera's Mark Orchard reports.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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