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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 elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:17PM (#39267357)

    You guys are paranoid. Without a tracking mirror they could never even aim a laser from space, much less use it to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists and start World War III.

    Hey, did you guys hear that a new season of "The Real Housewives of Miami" started last week? We should all watch it and talk about that. How about that Adriana, huh?

    • by mikael (484)

      Or even heat up pop-corn...

    • It's been notorious in the aerospace industry for decades that the best way to get classified information is to read Aviation Week and Space Technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    * Any speculation on the amount of payload it can take up? Could people go up?
    * Any speculation on the cost of the plane itself?
    * The cost of a launch?
    * Is it reusable?

    In short, would it be a replacement, if only partially, for the Space Shuttle?

    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:05PM (#39267915)

      1. No idea, payload bay is 2.1 × 1.2 m and its launch weight is 5000 kg
      2. Hundreds of millions to billions - "Details on the funding level remain within the Air Force's classified budget request"
      3. Launch vehicle is an Atlas V (~$13,000 per kg to LEO - $65 million per launch)
      4. Yes, supposedly, OTV-1 came back, has not launched again yet, OTV-2 is still up there

      http://www.space.com/8239-details-secretive-37b-space-plane-revealed.html [space.com]

      • by perpenso (1613749)

        ... payload bay is 2.1 x 1.2 m ...

        So a modern satellite reconnaissance camera/sensor package is about 2x1m?

        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          Yep, that or the hardware to leech off Russia, French, Israeli and Chinese recce satellites is 2 x 1m now.

      • Is it a Space Roomba? Collecting space junk since 2011? More of those please....
    • It is re-usable and they are working on a manned version. A lot of the tech involved in it's creation was gathered from the original shuttle program. That program went on for over 20 years so it provides a great deal of information for building future vehicles. One interesting mission for this type of craft would be attacking another countries satellites. They don't even need missiles they can just alter it's orbit. The really funny thing is how everyone has been moaning about the US giving up on their spa

      • It's not capable of Manned Spaceflight
        Think of it as the UAV of Spacecraft . . .
        • Didn't say it was manned. I said they were working on a scaled up manned version. Working out the kinks out on the unmanned version before creating a manned version makes a lot of sense.

  • I'll wait for the X-71, thankewverymuch.
  • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:38PM (#39267623)
    Maybe they forgot the control code to bring it down.
  • No Secret (Score:3, Funny)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:39PM (#39267635)
    It is just a target drone for HHARP weapons system in Alaska.
  • by Provos (20410) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:39PM (#39267641)

    They're defending us from Space Nazis [youtu.be]

  • Comrade Cosmonaut been in space for over 50 years!

  • No target yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:45PM (#39267697) Homepage

    Perhaps whatever it is designed to target doesn't need to be targeted just yet.

    "In your face from outer space" - motto of the USAF Space Warfare Center

  • by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:52PM (#39267769)

    I keep reading "Orbital Test Vehicle" as Orbital Testicle

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now you're just talking bollocks.

  • The secret military mission is really a cover for further NASA cutbacks. It's just cheaper to keep it up there all the time than it is to bring it down.

  • Obvious (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:15PM (#39268001)
    Free parking. Little risk of theft. Makes people wonder what you're up to. Winner all around.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      And its just one step to get back home!

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

          Ya, I guess it is safer in orbit than say in Modesto, CA (2010 highest per capita vehicle theft rate). Now I want to go steal it, just to ruin that stat. How bad would it skew the numbers, with a population of 0 and 1 theft.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Funny, those are the exact some advantages the guy at the Ferrari dealership pointed out when it turned out the only car in my price range was one already in space. He forgot to mention how awesome it is to own a car in space! I'm so smart.

  • ...Whatcha doin'?

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