A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane on May 20. Credit: ULA

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane on May 20.
Credit: ULA

A global team of vigilant satellite watchers has spotted the Air Force’s unpiloted winged craft, the X-37B space plane, now circling the Earth on its fourth Orbital Test Vehicle mission (OTV-4).

Operated by the U.S. Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, the secretive robotic spacecraft was orbited on May 20 by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 501 booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Previous mission photo shows launch processing of a Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Credit: Boeing

Previous mission photo shows launch processing of a Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.
Credit: Boeing

The rapid discovery of OTV-4 in orbit has already led to some interesting facts.

For my new story on sighting the space plane, go to:

Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Spotted by Amateur Astronomers
by Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist
May 29, 2015 07:00am ET

http://www.space.com/29516-x37b-space-plane-amateur-photos.html

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