Long-delayed plans by the US to deploy a small robot space shuttle appear now to be approaching fruition, according to the Register UK. The US Air Force has now stated that the X-37 unmanned spaceplane will be launched into orbit on April 19.
The X-37B has the requirement to be on-orbit up to 270 days. Actual length for the first mission will depend on the meeting the mission objectives, which consists of checkout and performance characteristics of the spacecraft systems.
Objectives of the OTV [Orbital Test Vehicle] program include space experimentation, risk reduction and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.
The X-37’s cargo bay is believed to be a large-coffin sized 7′ by 4′
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