The air force kept the mission secret, but said the X-37B would conduct a series of experiments in the flight and test the new system before returning to earth. Ulas on-site report on the early termination of the launch mission at the request of the U.S. air force.
The launch is more than six months after the X-37B completed its record breaking fifth orbital flight. The last time the X-37B flew 780 days in space, it landed at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 27 last year. The X-37B spent seven years and 10 months in orbit. The mission could add a few more years to its total flight time.
The X-37B added a service module to the mission, a cylindrical structure attached to the bottom of the aircraft filled with equipment to be tested in orbit. This is also the first time that X-37B uses the service cabin for experiments.
While most of the experiments on the X-37B are classified, some of the techniques in this mission have been made public. Along with the X-37B, a small satellite, Falcon SAT-8, was developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and carries five experimental payloads. It is assumed that X-37B will deploy falconsat-8 when it reaches orbit. NASA will also conduct two experiments on the mission to study how space radiation degrades certain substances and affects seeds. In addition, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory will conduct an experiment to convert solar energy into radio-frequency microwave energy, and then transmit the microwave energy back to the ground for use. (Chenchen)
Source: Wang Fengzhi, editor in charge of Netease Technology Report