The Air Force is preparing to launch its highly secretive X-37B Space Plane on its sixth mission into outer space, for a mission which reportedly could last up to two years.
As The National Interest reports:
OTV stands for “Operational Test Vehicle.” Officially, the Air Force deploys the 29-feet-long X-37B robotic mini-shuttle to test out new technology. But it’s obvious that the Boeing-made space plane is capable of much more than that.
OTV-6 is scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on May 16, 2020. The unmanned X-37B de-orbits on its own and lands like an airplane…
The X-37B’s increasing endurance is testimony to its design and careful planning by its operators. The vehicle once in orbit deploys solar panels for powering on-board systems. It also packs liquid fuel for its maneuvering thrusters.
— DutchSpace (@DutchSpace) April 27, 2020
Although the plane’s actual purpose remains a tightly guarded secret it is speculated that its true purpose could be as a weapon to be used to destroy enemy satellites in the event of a major conflict.