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NASA The Military Science

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

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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  • 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 geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:27PM (#39268751) Homepage Journal

    If launch detection n is a concern, we have better stealth capabilities. We have a plan that can deploy bombs at supersonic speeds, and stealth. Not that it matter. What happen after it detonates? every country will know, and there would be serious issues.
    so, again, putting weapons in space is stupid. You can't maintain it, you don't have complete control over it, and if it deorbits you have a political and military nightmare.
    Plus it's not large enough to hit all the enemies launch capabilities. SO they will still retaliate.

    A don't even pretend to lecture me on Project Thor. which, by the way, would be 6.1 meters long, not 2 meters.
    And a 2 meters, even if it was lead, would be about 225Kg worth of energy. And you would only have a few of them. Awfully expensive.

  •     Simple answer for your complex question. "X-37C or X-37D".

        It wouldn't necessarily *have* to be a kinetic weapon, that was just an example. How about a titanium cased nuclear warhead? What about, the contents of a XM1028 would make a pretty nasty impression on a populated area. Titanium rain, falling at Mach 10 doesn't sound like somewhere I'd want to be standing.

        Not all strategic strikes are made to level an entire country. Sometimes you just need to put a meteorite through the bedroom of a world leader.

        Snipers can be captured, and interrogated. A piece of rebar in the destroyed floor of a room is just another piece of rebar.

        Remember, humans are really great at one thing, finding new ways to kill each other. I have no reason to believe the agency who owns the biggest weapon in the world would be doing something secretively for a humanitarian mission. That kind of conflicts with their job description.

  • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <mils_orgen@hotmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:02AM (#39271777) Homepage

    A piece of rebar in the destroyed floor of a room is just another piece of rebar.

    I'm sure a piece of metal dropped from orbit would have some identifying characteristics due to the forces that would act upon it during transit and impact.

  • by hlavac ( 914630 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:51AM (#39273067)
    "Just drop"? One does not simply drop things from orbit... they keep orbiting. You need a big delta V, which means turning on engines, which means detected... probably harder to drop stuff from orbit than just lob it from surface!

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain