Boeing has lifted off its autonomous spaceplane with a United Launch Alliance-made Atlas V rocket for a mission to deploy an experimental small satellite and other payloads.
Boeing said Sunday its X-37B spacecraft will release a FalconSAT-8 unit that the U.S. Air Force will use to pursue experimental studies in orbit.
X-37B will also support experimental payloads of NASA and Naval Research Laboratory. NASA's research will look into space plantation and radiation effects on materials in space. NRL will study the conversion of solar energy to radio frequency microwaves.
The space plane will also facilitate demonstrations of reusable space vehicle technologies.
As X-37B's prime contractor, Boeing will integrate the experimental payloads into the spaceplane to comply with various technical requirements.