On Sunday morning, an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rocket hauled the secretive X-37B space plane into orbit for the US Space Force.
The launch webcast ended just five minutes after the launch due to the classified nature of the mission, but the rocket company said it inserted the spacecraft into its target orbit. As a result, this X-37B (there are two different vehicles that rotate flights) successfully began what is likely to be an approximately two-year mission to conduct scientific research (and who knows what other kinds of activities for the military).
This launch was delayed from Saturday morning due to poor weather over the Florida-based spaceport, and selfishly we’re glad for the one-day scrub. Clearer skies on Sunday meant that images captured by remote cameras set up by Ben Cooper, who shoots photos for United Launch Alliance, benefited from clear skies and brilliant sunlight.
The end result, in the gallery above, is quite spectacular.
Listing image by ULA