The next launch of the most mysterious reusable spacecraft of the US Air Force, known as the X-37B, is scheduled for May 16 this year. And this is the rare case when the goals of the flight are made public in advance, since this device usually performs its missions in complete secrecy. Perhaps the newly created US Space Corps, which now officially owns the X-37B, has no missions for it at the moment. And so that the unique device would not stand idle, it was "borrowed" by NASA.
In the interests of NASA, two experiments will be carried out on board the X-37B, for which an additional service module was fixed on it for the first time. The first project is dedicated to the study of new materials that need to be tested by the impact of the space environment. The second is studying the effect of cosmic radiation on plant seeds - X-37B flies in different orbits, including ultra-small ones, which will provide a wide range of conditions for the experiment.
The third project is being commissioned by the US Navy Research Laboratory, which has developed a technology for converting solar energy into microwave radio frequency. In this format, scientists hope to transfer it from the X-37B to Earth. Finally, the last of the voiced tasks is the launch into orbit of the FalconSat-8 microsatellite belonging to the US Air Force. He will also carry out some work, but now they are already classified.