CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - An unmanned Air Force space plane resembling a small space shuttle has been launched into orbit from Florida.

An Atlas 5 rocket carried the reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle aloft at 7:52 p.m. EDT Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Air Force says the launch was a success, but released no details of the mission's progress.

The service says the winged spacecraft will be a platform for unspecified experiments and can stay in orbit up to 270 days before gliding to an autonomous runway landing. The primary landing site is Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The X-37B began as a NASA project before being transferred to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and then the secretive Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.