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Space Force to Manage X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Ops; Barbara Barrett Quoted

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Barbara Barrett
Barbara Barrett Secretary US Air Force

The U.S. Space Force will oversee the operations of an experimental space plane built by Boeing to demonstrate systems to provide the Space Force with an unmanned space test platform, Military reported Thursday.

Space Force has established the Delta 9 unit to manage the X-37B platform and carry out orbital warfare operations for the service branch.

The orbital test vehicle was launched in May 2020, carrying the FalconSat-8 small satellite for a mission intended to bring experiments from NASA and the Air Force. Barbara Barrett, USAF secretary, said FalconSat-8 carries two NASA experiments

One NASA experiment will "study the results of radiation and other space effects on [specific] materials," while the other will research "ambient space radiation" effects on seeds used to grow food, Barrett said.

Delta 9 is comprised of three active-duty squadrons, which are tasked to devise response options for adversary threats and perform protect-and-defend missions in space.