SpaceX launches have become something of a routine over the past year or so, but if you think there’s nothing interesting about yet another launch being carried out by Elon Musk’s stellar startup, you’re dead wrong. Today, the company will send its reliable rocket skyward once more, and this time it has some seriously strange cargo. The craft will be carrying the X-37B space plane, an unmanned drone owned by the US Air Force, and the government isn’t too keen on the specifics of its mission.
The X-37B is an “experimental platform” according to the US Air Force. This time around, the plane will carry “small satellite ride shares and will demonstrate greater opportunities for rapid space access and on-orbit testing of emerging space technologies,” which is a really fancy way of saying “we’d rather not tell you exactly what we’re doing up there.” You might remember the X-37B from its previous trip to space, which it returned from in May of this year.
The launch is set for today, September 7th, between 9:50am EDT and 2:55am EDT, though the exact launch timing will be determined based on weather, spacecraft readiness, and a million other factors that SpaceX has to account for. The launch is being held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which makes accounting for weather particularly tricky at the moment. Thankfully, Hurricane Irma is still a ways off the Florida coast, and isn’t expected to impact the event.
You can watch the entire live stream of the launch from the window above, which will go live shortly before the launch window opens, and as always SpaceX will be providing commentary and offering insight into the technical aspects of shooting a giant bullet into space. Just don’t expect them to reveal anything juicy about the X-37B, because that’s a secret.