X-37B Launch Delayed, Again

The Air Force and United Launch Alliance have postponed the next X-37B mission by an additional several weeks, now eyeing Nov. 27 as the day that an Atlas V rocket will carry the experimental spaceplane into orbit. The Air Force had planned to conduct the launch in October. However, an upper-stage engine anomaly during the launch of a GPS IIF satellite in early October caused service and industry officials to put off the X-37 mission, designated OTV-3, until mid November until the anomaly investigation was complete. Now, they are saying more time is needed. “Although the team . . . has been making good progress reviewing and analyzing the data, ULA leadership and the Air Force have decided to postpone the launch two weeks to allow for additional flight-data anomaly-investigation activities and thorough crossover assessment for the X-37B OTV launch vehicle to be completed,” states a release posted at ULA’s website on Nov. 2. OTV-3 will mark the third time that an X-37 orbital test vehicle spends time in space. Air Force officials have said there are no issues with the X-37 vehicle holding up the launch.