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SpaceX launches secret US Air Force space plane

 Ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Florida, SpaceX successfully launched a secret US Air Force space plane from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) on its fifth mission blasted off from Launch Complex 39A on Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT.

What OTV-5 mission would accomplish is not known.

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for the reliable and cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage landed at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, SpaceX tweeted.

In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease with NASA for the use of Launch Complex 39A. Since then, the company has made significant upgrades to modernise the pad's structures and ground systems.