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SpaceX preparing for launch of mini spy space shuttle for US Air Force despite Hurricane Irma warning

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It will also attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on land for reuse.

SpaceX, the Elon Musk owned Rocket Company, is all set to fire off its 13th Falcon 9 of the year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday and, unlike other missions, this time the mission of X-37B mini-shuttle to carry the spy shuttle for the US military has been kept a well-sealed secret.

The launch has received unexpected traction both because of the secretive mission and because of the timing of the launch despite Hurricane Irma warning.

The lift off is scheduled from the Kennedy launch pad when the Cyclonic hurricane Imra is just 900 miles southeast of Florida, putting the mission at risk.

It is expected that the chances of SpaceX taking risk of a cloudy launch are 40 percent to 60 percent, considering that they have also set a backup window for Friday.

If the classified mission of SpaceX and US Air Force turns out successful, the company will become the first private firm to launch a highly classified mission for US Air Force.

The payload, which is believed to be an 11,000 pound drone-like vehicle that will orbit the earth over the period of one year, has been designed by Boeing Co. The last SpaceX mission was in May when it launched X-37B, which is an Orbital Test Vehicle, with 20 percent less size of the retired reusable Space Shuttle.

SpaceX’s launch on Thursday is scheduled to take place between 9.50 a.m. and 2.55 p.m. local time, SpaceX said in a press kit.

It will also attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on land for reuse.