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NASA The Military Science

X-37B Space Plane Marks One Year In Space 75

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the retrofitted-with-lasers dept.
S810 writes with an excerpt from an article on the X-37B in at Discovery News: "The military won't say what it has been doing with its experimental miniature space shuttle, but the pilotless spaceship, known as the X-37B, has been in orbit for a year now. The 29-foot robotic spacecraft, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, was launched on March 5, 2011, on a follow-up flight to extend capabilities demonstrated by a sister ship during a 244-day debut mission in 2010. 'We are very pleased with the results of ongoing X-37B experiments,' Tom McIntyre, with the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office..."
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X-37B Space Plane Marks One Year In Space

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  • by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:06PM (#39268569) Homepage Journal

        Well, if it has the same speed of a shuttle, a full orbit is 90 minutes.

        27 minutes from launch to impact depends on being able to detect the launch. With no launch detection, because it's just dropped, means they have to hope to pick up a 2m x 1m deorbiting.

        Look for "hypervelocity rod bundles", and "Project Thor". This appears to be the initial implementation of that project.

        Officially, we've agreed to not weaponize space. I'd be willing to be they'd say "It's not space, it's a high altitude aircraft."

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:41PM (#39268891) Homepage

    27 minutes from launch to impact depends on being able to detect the launch.

    Actually it turns out that it takes an ICBM 27 minutes from launch to impact regardless of whether anyone detects the launch! Amazing, I know.

    This appears to be the initial implementation of that project.

    Uh, no it doesn't. This would be a terrible way to get large masses into orbit.

    If you're going to be paranoid -- an endeavor I fully support -- then at least do it right. You should be looking at any of the many shuttle and other heavy-lift rocket launches carrying spy satellites from the last 40 years, any of which could have been carrying a payload of tungsten rods.

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