SpaceX Launches X-37B
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane into orbit on Sept. 7, 2017. The robotic spacecraft will conduct its fifth secret mission for the military while in orbit. This mission,
Meet the X-37B
This stock image of the X-37B shows how it would look inside a payload fairing.
A Cloudy Sky
SpaceX launched the X-37B mission just days ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Irma in the Florida area. Early forecasts called for a 50-percent chance that bad weather would prevent a launch.
The X-37B in Orbit
The X-37B space plane uses solar panels to provide power during its long missions in Earth orbit.
Any weather fears evaporated during the countdown as conditions were clear for the Sept. 7 launch. Here the Falcon 9 soars into orbit from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
How the X-37B Works
The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane is a miniature space shuttle capable of long, classified missions in orbit. See how the X-37B space plane works in this Space.com infographic.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.
SpaceX X-37B Mission Logo
SpaceX's mission emblem for the Falcon 9 rocket launching the X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force.
Farewell, X-37B...For Now
The Sept. 7 liftoff marked the fifth flight of an X-37B space plane. The Air Force has two of the reusable space planes.
Falcon 9 Takes to the Skies
In this view of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the Falcon 9 and X-37B launch straight through a cloud and into a blue sky.
Reaching 'Max Q'
About 1 minute and 20 seconds after launch, the Falcon 9 rocket passed through the region of maximum dynamic pressure, or "Max Q," where the aerodynamic force in front of the rocket is at its strongest.