Technology SpaceX launches mysterious Air Force space plane ahead of Irma's arrival

18:01  07 september  2017
18:01  07 september  2017 Source:   CNN

Puerto Rico declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma

  Puerto Rico declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Monday declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in preparation for the landfall of Irma, a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. "Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has $15 million for the emergency fund," Rosselló said in a statement.Irma, which is forecast to strengthen on Tuesday night, is set hit the U.S. territory on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The company is slated to launch the US Air Force ’ s mysterious X -37B spaceplane into orbit sometime this morning or early afternoon from NASA’ s Kennedy Space Center. The timing may work out, since Hurricane Irma isn’t slated to reach Florida until this weekend

" SpaceX will be sending the next Air Force payload up into space in August," the Air Force secretary said. × Elon Musk' s SpaceX will launch the US Air Force ' s mysterious X -37B space plane .

  SpaceX launches mysterious Air Force space plane ahead of Irma's arrival © Spacex

SpaceX launched an unmanned space plane for the U.S. Air Force Thursday morning, as Hurricane Irma took aim at Cape Canaveral.

Irma, a Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph, was about 100 miles north of the Dominican Republic. Some forecasts suggest it could reach the Kennedy Space Center by late Saturday or early Sunday morning.

The weather at the cape was calm and clear Thursday morning.

"If you looked outside you would not know a hurricane is expected," SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said, earlier Thursday morning. "It's a typical sunny Florida morning."

Within minutes of the launch, the first stage of the Dragon rocket landed back at the Kennedy Space Center as planned. The ability to land its first stage for reuse is a key to its efforts to cut the cost of space flight. It launched from launch pad 39A, which NASA had once used for Apollo moon missions and many Space Shuttle missions.

Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion

  Hurricane Irma is heading straight for Trump's Caribbean mansion President Donald Trump doesn't just have to worry about safeguarding the nation ahead of Hurricane Irma. Trump owns a multi-million dollar mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Martin -- and Category 5 Irma is heading straight for it. A hurricane warning is in effect for St. Martin -- a French dependency about 230 miles east of Puerto Rico -- and other nearby islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds could arrive within the next 24 to 36 hours. Trump owns the 11-bedroom gated mansion through a trust set up to avoid conflict of interests during his presidency. The trust has been trying to offload the beachfront property for months.

Elon Musk´ s Space Exploration Technologies Corp will fly its first mission for the U. S . Air Force in August when it launches the military´ s X -37B miniature spaceplane , Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said on Tuesday.

Hurricane SpaceX is scheduled to launch the US Air Force ' s Boeing X -37B space plane to orbit aboard its Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday (7 September) The secretive spaceplane made a surprise landing at the Kennedy Space Centre on 7 May after spending a record-breaking 718 days in space .

Related: Elon Musk predicts World War III threat

Not much is known about the Air Force's new unmanned space plane, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, that SpaceX launched. It launches vertically on a rocket but lands on a runway much like an airplane.

It's part of the Department of Defense's Rapid Capabilities Office, which works on technology to combat urgent national security threats. The plane is carrying "experimental payloads," according to the Air Force.

Specifically, it is has equipment to test "experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes" during long trips in space. Heat pipes can be used on satellites to help regulate their temperature in space.

Related: SpaceX just teased a chic new spacesuit

This is the fifth flight for the X-37B. The fourth flight was launched in May 2015 by United Launch Alliance, a SpaceX rival that is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. That plane orbited the earth for 718 days before landing in May 2017.

SpaceX had to fight for the chance to break up United Launch Alliance's monopoly and land lucrative military contracts. That started in 2014, when SpaceX sued the government, saying the Air Force wasn't giving SpaceX fair consideration when it awarded contracts.

The suit was eventually settled, and SpaceX completed its first mission for the Air Force in 2015. The company has also signed two separate deals -- valued at a combined total of $183.7 million -- over the past two years to launch GPS satellites into orbit for the Air Force.

Ernie Els pulls out of KLM Open to stay in Irma-hit Florida .
Ernie Els has pulled out of the KLM Open golf tournament so he can stay with family and friends in Florida to deal with the fallout from Hurricane Irma. Els said in a statement Monday that his "first concern at the moment and the coming days is to support my family and our friends and staff at Els for Autism. We must be ready for the consequences of this terrible storm.

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