Skip to comments.The X-37B Mystery Spacecraft Just Had Its Nine Month Mission Extended Indefinitely
Posted on 12/03/2011 7:16:53 AM PST by blam
The X-37B Mystery Spacecraft Just Had Its Nine Month Mission Extended Indefinitely
Dec. 3, 2011, 9:15 AM
Image: US Air Force
The pilotless X-37B Orbital Vehicle has been silently circling the planet for the past nine months and the Air Force has announced it will continue its classified mission indefinitely.
W.J. Hennigan of the Los Angeles Times reports the X-37B resembles a smaller version of the space shuttle and is said to test various new technologies in space.
"We initially planned for a nine-month mission, which we are roughly at now, but we will continue to extend the mission as circumstances allow," Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the spacecraft's systems program director, said in a statement. "Keeping the X-37 in orbit will provide us with additional experimentation opportunities and allow us to extract the maximum value out of the mission."
The X-37B was built in tight secrecy by Boeing Co.'s Space and Intelligence Systems unit in Huntington Beach, Calif. Engineering work was done at the company's facilities in Huntington Beach and nearby Seal Beach. Other components were fabricated at its satellite-making plant inEl Segundo, Calif.
The classified nature of the X-37B has prompted speculation that the ship is the first step in an orbiting weapons array able to drop bombs or disable satellites of US enemies.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
Tiny Rods from God?
Mysterious explosions in Iran?
It would not be hard to drop a kinetic object onto a spot as small as a 2 foot radius. Just needs a bit of maneuverability and cheap GPS guidance.
My first thought at the headline was “What, did they lose it?”
Impressive performance so far it seems. Especially for something that looks as though it was assembled from parts found at the ‘Boneyard’ and reinforced with 100 mph duct tape.
They don’t know how to get it down?
Is it using tiles like the shuttle or is it carbon-carbon on every surface or even better, a newer heat shield technology?
That could very well be it, they can bring it down for some reason. Failure in some subsystem perhaps. We'll probably never know.
Just a fancy looking satellite......
more likely things have gone well. Because of the very high cost of just getting something into space, much less sending a technician in to space to change out batteries or troubleshoot problems, space-based systems are built to complete their missions when lots of stuff goes wrong.
When things go right, there’s extra mission capability. This is why a lot of satellites are functional far past their expected lifetimes. Since there are no astronauts involved (by far the most needy and fragile component in any space system), time on orbit isn’t a system constraint. So long as there’s enough propellant left to get home, there’s no reason to end things just because the original schedule that assumed things would go wrong says so.
My first reaction, as well. Leave it up until folks forget about it?
Not suborbital, it is a LEO (low earth orbit)drone. Likely equipped with kinetic smart weapons and small port firing devices intended to disable satellites.
The kinetic weapons have no launch signature, and appear as meteors when they enter the atmosphere. For some reason they seem to be attracted to rouge atomic facilities in the mid-east and south west Asia.
You’re saying a high tech version of the lazy dog bomb?
BINGO, something has gone wrong, no command and control.
Even if it is just a decoy. China is eating up a lot of their resources trying to figure it out. Maybe they should launch a couple dozen more.
I think it is a test of flight controls, and heat shields, but it could have launched a small satellite, but some here cannot get it in their head that the thing is traveling at 17,000 miles per hour.
It supposedly went up with 9 months worth of experiments and now they want to extend the mission indefinitely? What, they got more experiments sent up to the X-37B? I think this project is for something other than experiments.
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