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The mysterious X-37B

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  • The mysterious X-37B

    It seems even the experts are puzzled about this program. So that leaves it to us to speculate what it could possibly lead to.. my personal favorite: its going to evolve into the first space fighter, capable of taking out enemy satellites and possibly even ground targets. Of course, it could just be a tech demonstrator.



    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/...ic-spacecraft/



    LOS ANGELES -- After a decade of development, the Air Force this month plans to launch a robotic spacecraft resembling a small space shuttle to conduct technology tests in orbit and then glide home to a California runway.

    The ultimate purpose of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle and details about the craft, which has been passed between several government agencies, however, remain a mystery as it is prepared for launch April 19 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    "As long as you're confused you're in good shape," said defense analyst John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. "I looked into this a couple of years ago -- the entire sort of hypersonic, suborbital, scramjet nest of programs -- of which there are upwards of a dozen. The more I studied it the less I understood it."

  • #2
    It makes sense that the internet would make it hard to keep a project like this secret the way they did with the F-117 so instead they created dozens of different stories to make it as confusing as possible. Very clever.
    "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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    • #3
      I believe I saw an article somewhere talking about the military developing (or thinking about) creating a rapid transport(aka dropship) and that craft was the picture provided. If I can find it again ill link it.

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      • #4
        Interesting to see the first mission..
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVTUYEkMRxE

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        • #5
          More:


          http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1...ecraft_launch/



          http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av012/100225x37arrival/
          Last edited by Thunder Dome; 05 Apr 10, 17:08.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kuma View Post

            "As long as you're confused you're in good shape," said defense analyst John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. "I looked into this a couple of years ago -- the entire sort of hypersonic, suborbital, scramjet nest of programs -- of which there are upwards of a dozen. The more I studied it the less I understood it."
            Even the people running these programs can lose track. One of my mates in Okinawa became aide to a senior General. A conversation he routinely heard went something like this:

            Colonel Blimp "Sir what is this project that has been added onto my budget last fiscal quarter. I just got word from X Command to turn over labratory floors to its use. But, they refused to tell me anything about it."

            General Wheelchair. "How the f...k should I know? X Command & NSA lied all last year. I'll come down to your area Thursday and we will try to crash the gate."

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            • #7
              I ilke its capability to hang oround in space for up to 9 months at a time. Potentially, you could have several of these orbiting at any one time, ready to do a quick strike on very time critical targets.. something like a super duper Reaper with global strike capability.

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              • #8
                Well it's a good thing that the Air Force has been developing something because after the Space Shuttle retires this year, that's it. No more American manned space vehicles.

                Meanwhile, China is scheduled for another two space launches this year, aiming to eventually get to the moon in a few years.

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                • #9
                  I'm sure they need to replace the Space Shuttle capabilities within the sphere of National Security agencies and military branches. The standard launch platforms can't match some of the shuttle capabilities and all the services and agencies really need those capabilities (satellite launch recovery, testing, etc.); things the shuttle did well on secret missions but will soon be unable to do, hence the X-37.

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                  • #10
                    Its a minnow compared to the Space Shuttle. I can see it being useful as a test platform for new tech as it is recoverable. That is a plausible mission though one really never knows the way the military mind works.

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                    • #11
                      IIRC, it was originally designed to fit inside the shuttle bay which, according to NASA has a payload bay of 15' X 60'. I think that the removal of crew and crew equipment makes launching automated systems much cheaper and easier via the X-37 design than using the STS. It's funny how all these designs all flow from the '50s and '60s; the original STS designs I believe actually used 2 Shuttle-like systems together to get into orbit. Much more ambitious than what we have nowadays.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                        Well it's a good thing that the Air Force has been developing something because after the Space Shuttle retires this year, that's it. No more American manned space vehicles.

                        Meanwhile, China is scheduled for another two space launches this year, aiming to eventually get to the moon in a few years.
                        Not really - just no more expensive NASA shuttles. The Rutan Space Plane is operational and a lot cheaper.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by boomer400 View Post
                          IIRC, it was originally designed to fit inside the shuttle bay which, according to NASA has a payload bay of 15' X 60'. I think that the removal of crew and crew equipment makes launching automated systems much cheaper and easier via the X-37 design than using the STS. It's funny how all these designs all flow from the '50s and '60s; the original STS designs I believe actually used 2 Shuttle-like systems together to get into orbit. Much more ambitious than what we have nowadays.
                          Orbital Porta-Potty.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                          • #14
                            http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2009/...ace-plane-x-b/
                            Some speculation on the possibility of weaponizing the platform for military use.. I wonder how much fuel that thing can carry for its rocket motor? Fuel would be the limiting factor to its endurance as it has no crew and it draws energgy from solar cells.

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                            • #15
                              wasnt there a post on one of the threads recently about the amount of money wasted in defence projects....????

                              ...co-incidence or what..????!!!!

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