This also makes me think the proposed X-37C (larger, optionally crewed) is becoming more likely, hence no letter 'B' in the title..
KSC lands secret Air Force X-37B space plane, jobs
A secretive military space plane will move into a vacant former space shuttle hangar at Kennedy Space Center, potentially bringing hundreds of jobs, officials confirmed Friday.
Use of the former shuttle hangar called Orbiter Processing Facility-1 will allow the Air Force’s classified X-37B program “to efficiently land, recover, refurbish and re-launch” the unmanned system in Florida, according to The Boeing Co., which built and supports the program’s two orbital vehicles.
The Air Force and Boeing would not comment further, and did not disclose the move’s financial or jobs impact.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Friday that the program would mean “hundreds” of jobs, first to renovate OPF-1 and then from Boeing’s engineering, technician and support team.
“This is significant for KSC because it is again additional space business, but diversification,” said Nelson.
Space Florida records previously estimated the program could start with 200 employees, but it was not clear if those projections remained valid.
The state aerospace agency’s board has approved spending up to $9 million provided by the state Department of Transportation to renovate two former shuttle hangars that are joined together, including the one Boeing said it will use for the X-37B.
Officials did not say how soon the military program could move to KSC, which has been seeking new users for facilities it no longer needs following the shuttle’s retirement in 2011.
Modernization of a third shuttle processing hangar is nearing completion in preparation for its lease to Boeing for an unrelated program.
Under a deal announced in 2011, Boeing plans to build commercial crew capsules in the facility if it wins contracts to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, potentially adding 550 jobs.
NASA is in negotiations with SpaceX to take over one of KSC’s two launch pads, and with Space Florida to take over operations of the center’s three-mile runway, where the X-37B would land just like a shuttle.
“We have long touted how attractive our unique infrastructure and work force are to both the private sector and the military, and we are excited that this project capitalizes on both of those strengths while laying the groundwork for future growth,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, one of the partners in the agreement led by Space Florida.
X-37B prepped for launch