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Space missions have long exemplified humankind's indomitable spirit and boundless ambition. Once the reserve of nations, space is fact opening up to commercial enterprises and could soon be the must-go destination for tourists – provided the accumulation of debris doesn't turn Earth's orbit into a no-go zone. All this comes as missions beyond the Moon provide greater insights into our solar system and more powerful telescopes give us a glimpse at exoplanets light years away.

New Atlas keeps you up to date with the latest space news and fantastic images from all corners of the Universe.

SpaceX launches secret spaceplane

SpaceX entered the world of classified space flights this Thursday, as it launched the Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5) mission at 10:00 am EDT atop a Falcon 9 booster from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying the secret US Air Force X-37B spaceplane.

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