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NASA Technology

Boeing Moving X-37B Operations To the Kennedy Space Center 35

Posted by timothy
from the so-they-can-hang-out-with-the-spacex-guys dept.
schwit1 writes "A spy plane used by the U.S. Air Force is about to get a new home: a garage at Kennedy Space Center that once housed NASA orbiters during the space shuttle era. The move was announced Friday by Boeing, the Chicago-based company that built the X-37B orbital test vehicle and is in charge of repairing the spacecraft whenever it returns to Earth. Previously, Boeing had refurbished the 29-foot-long spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but the company decided to relocate its fix-up shop in Florida, where the vehicle now launches."
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Boeing Moving X-37B Operations To the Kennedy Space Center

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  • manned cabin (Score:5, Informative)

    by l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:44AM (#45863909)
    since Boeing showed these [space.com] 2 years ago, I'm sure the retrofit is ready by now. The Air Force will never give up their backdoor access to space. This picture [nasaspaceflight.com] here is about all I can find...but if they drew out plans like that then the Air Force probably has it built already.
    • I guess every US gov't department is interesting in backdooring whatever/whomever they can...

      • Maybe that's why so many government officials are against gay marriage... they don't want to be tied down to backdooring only one thing for the rest of their life.

      • I guess every US gov't department is interesting in backdooring whatever/whomever they can...

        Hell, the IRS 'backdoors' me every April.

    • ...to the second picture [nasaspaceflight.com].
    • by Solandri (704621)
      The USAF would have wanted that even when the Shuttles were in operation.

      Kennedy is situated near the equator (28 degrees latitude) to take advantage of the additional velocity of the Earth's rotation in an Eastward launch. This reduces the delta-v you need to achieve orbit, meaning less fuel, less cost, and more payload. Unfortunately launching to the East limits you to equatorial orbits which pass over only about the middle +/- 28-62 degrees of latitude. That's good enough coverage of the Earth's su
  • It's sadly ironic that the US only use for NASA facilities and repurposed X-37B is for spying on people and weaponizing space. Some may say bloated NASA needed to be put out of its misery, but surely the government could contribute more to useful science and exploration privately, than more ways to fund military or NSA to control its citizens.
    • There has been no impetus for a 'space race' since the bottom fell out of the now defunct Russian Empire.

      The recent off-planet excursions by the Chinese may be viable threat enough to restart one though, he said hopefully.

      It is unfortunate that governments/nations are unable to advance space exploration without perceived military benefit, but that's just the way of it presently.

    • by tomhath (637240) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @08:41AM (#45864647)
      The US is so far ahead of anyone else in space that there is no longer a race being run. What other country could make a soft landing on one of Saturn's moons? How many other countries have rovers exploring Mars? Who else sent a probe out of the Solar System into interstellar space?
      • Good point. Currently, space exploration is - or should be - more about science than a race.

        I have a friend who works as a scientist for NASA, and he has made the point that there is very little "science" to be gleaned from the manned exploration of space, e.g. "the space race". Basically, the unmanned probes and robots can gather data at a much lower cost. Manned exploration like moon landings and space stations may capture the public imagination, and thus lead to funding (even in China), but they just

        • by khallow (566160)

          Currently, space exploration is - or should be - more about science than a race.

          Space exploration should be about enabling future activities in space.

          • Which activities? We won't know what's worthwhile without doing the science.

            Remember, it's Ready, Aim, Fire.

            In that order.

            • by khallow (566160)

              Which activities? We won't know what's worthwhile without doing the science.

              I agree. But we can also do science that doesn't help us. For example, most funding for onsite Mars research is actually spent on technology development that will probably only be used for a few Mars vehicles.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      The US won the space race, but they're losing the space marathon.
  • by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday January 04, 2014 @08:01AM (#45864529)
    I know how much was wrong with the shuttle program, but I still get depressed every time I hear it referred to in the past tense.
  • ie. Launch Assembly Building for the Apollo's?

  • Since the AF has not said what the X -37 is doing, there is no way to establish that the vehicle is spying or performing other missions.

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