An Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral to deploy a mostly classified experimental space plane for the U.S. military. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (no reporter narration) STORY: An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday to put a mostly classified experimental space plane into orbit for the U.S. military. The 206-foot (63-meter) tall rocket, built and flown by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, soared off its seaside launch pad at 11:05 a.m. EDT (1505 GMT) to deliver an X-37B drone ship into orbit for a fourth mission. As with previous flights, the U.S. Air Force would not say what the space plane, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, will be doing in orbit or how long it will stay there. After the X-37B is released into orbit, its upper-stage engine also will deploy 10 tiny satellites, called CubeSats. One spacecraft is a crowd-funded technology effort called LightSail to develop a propulsion system that uses the pressure of photons from the sun, a technique known as solar sailing, rather than chemical propellants.