Kennedy Space Center could house secret Air Force X-37B program

Project Coyote widely speculated to be U.S. Air Force's X-37B reusable mini-shuttle

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space Florida's board on Friday approved spending up to $5 million to re-purpose Kennedy Space Center facilities for potential use by a classified military program.

Labeled Project Coyote, the program was not discussed but is widely speculated to be the U.S. Air Force's X-37B reusable mini-shuttle.

The Air Force has previously said it is exploring cost-savings that could be achieved by consolidating X-37B launch, landing and refurbishment operations in one location.

Landing and refurbishment currently are performed in California, but the Air Force has also said the third unmanned X-37B mission -- targeted for a Nov. 27 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop an Atlas V rocket -- could land on KSC's shuttle runway, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

During its meeting at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel, Space Florida's board made no mention of the KSC facilities in question.

But documents have linked Project Coyote to the former shuttle hangars officially called Orbiter Processing Facilities 1 and 2.

Separately, the board approved another $5 million to continue work to ready a third shuttle hangar -- OPF-3 -- for use by The Boeing Co. to assemble a commercial crew capsule.

A first $5 million demolition phase is already under way. The additional funding approved Friday would go toward a second modernization phase.

All the funding for work on the hangars comes from the Florida Department of Transportation, which has a $15 million budget this fiscal year for space infrastructure upgrades.

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