Mystery mini-shuttle may come to Florida

Sept. 28, 2012 at 7:42 PM
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force says it is considering moving operations of the X-37B, its mysterious mini-shuttle, to Florida.

Air Force officials said Thursday operations might be moved to either the Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If that happens, it could prove to be an economic lift for a region still reeling from the 2011 retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Florida Today reported.

The Air Force is "looking at space shuttle infrastructure for possible cost-saving measures, including the potential for consolidating landing, refurbishment and launch operations at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," said Maj. Tracy Bunko of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

Built by Boeing, the X-37B resembles a small space shuttle at 29 feet long and 15 feet wide.

Its missions are classified top-secret, although it has a payload bay large enough to take satellites and experiments into low Earth orbit and then return them to Earth.

The Air Force has two X-37Bs, and each has made one flight into space so far, launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base and then landing back at the base.

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