X-37B Boeing - Crew Dragon SpaceX cover

Space: it's a race between Boeing and SpaceX

Between Boeing and SpaceX is increasingly a race for the commercial and military conquest of space.


The X-37B (of which there are only two specimens), aboard an Atlas V rocket of the United Launch Alliance, took off on 17 May from the Cape Canaveral SLC-41 launch complex (the same from which the future missions of the CST-100 Starliner, also by Boeing, will lift off) for its sixth secret mission, the first on behalf of the recently fonded Us Space Force.

X 37B sesta orizzontale

We do not know how long the unmanned mini-shuttle will remain in orbit (last time remained in orbit 779 days), nor the purpose of the mission, except that various systems will be tested in space.

Among them a small satellite, the FalconSat-8, two NASA payloads designed to study the effects of radiation on different materials and seeds and an energy radiation experiment that uses microwave energy.

Even if you don't know what exactly they will be, for sure the experiments will be more numerous than the previous missions, given that the X-37B, whose fifth mission had been launched by SpaceX, has been “stretched”, adding a new cylindrical section to the tail.


As for SpaceX, NASA has authorized the launch of the Space Dragon 2 or Crew Dragon, first manned flight of the capsule produced by the Elon Musk group and destined to alternate with the CST-100 Starliner on flights to the International Space Station (ISS).

Crew Dragon Astronauts

In this case, the launch, initially announced for May 27th and then moved to May 30th due to bad weather, will take place from SLC-39A (already used for the Apollo project, to launch the Skylab and then for the Space Shuttle project). There will be two space veterans aboard the Crew Dragon, which will be lift-off by a Falcon 9 rocket, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley, both on their third launch into space.

Hurley, who was the pilot of the STS-127 and STS-135 (the last of the Space Shuttle program) missions will be the commander of the mission and will have Behnken by his side, married to fellow astronaut Katherine Megan McArthur (who flew on the STS-125 mission and was the last person to "get her hands", or rather the Shuttle's mechanical arm, on the Hubble Space Telescope) and who went into space with STS-123 and STS-130 missions.

Behnken was also aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor for the mission STS-400, never taken off but kept ready on the launch pad as a possible rescue mission for the STS-125, which instead took off regularly (and in which his wife was, as mentioned above).

Tags: Space exploration, Technology, space