After a 22-year hiatus, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense are resuming a partnership for a classified program that will be based at the Kennedy Space Center.
NASA flew secret missions for the military 10 times between January 1985 and December 1992, setting up a separate firing room, blacking out communications and abiding by a host of restrictions and operational procedures to accommodate the Defense Department’s demand for secrecy. This time around, NASA intends to be nothing more than a host for the Air Force’s classified X-37B program, which will lease two of the space shuttle’s mothballed processing hangars.
“It is different from shuttle. It’s not the same vehicle that has to flow through the [Vehicle Assembly Building] and that does a lot of the same shuttle operations [as nonclassified missions]. X-37B is basically a separable capability in one facility,” Scott Colloredo, director of KSC’s Center Planning and Development Directorate, told SpaceNews.
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