CAPE CANAVERAL – In preparation for the launch of the second of the U.S. Air Force’s Orbital Test Vehicles (OTV), the Air Force has released images of the OTV being encapsulated within the fairing that goes on top of the Atlas V AV-026 launch vehicle. Currently, the launch is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 4. The launch window is between 3:39 p.m. EDT and 5:39 p.m. EDT.
UPDATE: Due to weather concerns, the launch has been postponed until Saturday, March 5. Weather is predicted to improve to 40% favorable for launch.
The tiny X-37B space plane is better known as the X-37B. The small spacecraft was designed to fit within the payload bay of the space shuttle. It currently is inside the Atlas’ 5-meter fairing. This is what is known as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle encapsulated assembly or EA. The EA being hoisted to the top of the rocket is one of the last major assembly endeavors before launch.
The EA arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) on Feb. 21. Currently weather conditions provide for a 70 percent chance of unfavorable conditions for launch. The primary causes for concern are gusty winds and Cumulus Clouds.