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Air Force Will Continue to Launch Mysterious X-37B Space Plane
National Defense Magazine ^ | 3/22/2012 | Stew Magnuson

Posted on 03/22/2012 9:00:20 PM PDT by U-238

What payloads are aboard the Air Force’s X-37B space plane, which has been orbiting the Earth for more than a year, remains top secret.

Gen. William L. Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, was peppered with questions about its purpose at a gathering of Washington, D.C.-based defense reporters March 22. He remained tight-lipped about the mystery spacecraft’s mission, but did say that the service has no intention of purchasing any more of the winged, reusable vehicles, which resemble a smaller version of NASA’s now returned space shuttle.

“It is doing very well on orbit,” he said. “It has had a successful mission and we are very happy with it.”

The Air Force wants to continue to use the X-37B, he added. The Air Force has not determined a reentry date yet for the spacecraft currently circling the globe, he added. The Air Force has two vehicles, which are designed to remain in orbit for about 270 days. The first X-37B launched April 22, 2010, and remained in orbit until Dec. 3 that year. The second was sent to orbit March 5, 2011, and has now long exceeded its original 270-day specifications.

The Boeing-built spacecraft began its life as a NASA program, with the Air Force contributing some development funds. It was originally conceived as a vehicle that could robotically refuel or repair satellites. Once NASA decided to drop the program, it was transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and then to the Air Force, where it became a top secret, or “black” program.

Shelton said there are no plans to develop a larger X-37B spacecraft.

The Air Force is looking to “sustain this capability for quite sometime.”

“There certainly is no plan that we can afford to increase the fleet size,” he added.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationaldefensemagazine.org ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: aerospace; darpa; spaceplane; spacewarfare; usaf; x37

1 posted on 03/22/2012 9:00:27 PM PDT by U-238
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To: Jet Jaguar; KevinDavis

Ping.


2 posted on 03/22/2012 9:04:08 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: U-238

Whatever they reveal today they’ve had for 20 years and what they hint at they’ve had for 10 years. They’d been talking about space planes, scramjets and ramjets long before I left the service in 1983.


3 posted on 03/22/2012 9:22:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

ping


4 posted on 03/22/2012 9:24:35 PM PDT by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: U-238

5 posted on 03/22/2012 9:25:02 PM PDT by garjog
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To: garjog

What is the Mission?

“Few details have been revealed about the mission, which is a semi-secret test flight. As this author has suggested for years, there are really two missions going on at once. The first mission is a test of the X-37B vehicle and the components used to make it. This is all about testing new technology that will find their way into future re-useable spacecraft.

The second mission concerns some unidentified objects in the spacecraft’s small payload bay. This writer believes that these are satellite parts undergoing endurance testing for America’s National Reconnaissance Office, the shadowy organization behind America’s spy satellites.”

Space Travel Exploration and Tourism http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Birthday_Cake_for_X_37B_999.html


6 posted on 03/22/2012 9:33:28 PM PDT by garjog
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To: U-238

What a good cover story, they cannot get it down, so it is doing a good job. LOL


7 posted on 03/22/2012 9:35:44 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: org.whodat

.....they cannot get it down,.....


That makes sense.


8 posted on 03/22/2012 9:39:06 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: org.whodat

I do not think its a cover story. I strongly believe that its an endurance test.They want to know how long they can keep the spacecraft in orbit.


9 posted on 03/22/2012 9:39:30 PM PDT by U-238
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To: garjog

Probably some interesting stuff going on behind the curtain for sure.


10 posted on 03/22/2012 9:40:21 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

But now we have the technology. Back then, this stuff was all theoretical.They probably have it now in secret air bases such as Edwards and Groom Lake.


11 posted on 03/22/2012 9:42:05 PM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238
Unlimited utility vehicle.


12 posted on 03/22/2012 10:45:43 PM PDT by clearcarbon
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To: clearcarbon

Now that would make Amazon.com happy.


13 posted on 03/22/2012 10:49:47 PM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We're an Oligrachy...Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson)
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To: clearcarbon

LOL. The X-37 is the USAF’s dream toy. It can be used as spy satellite, deliver weapons into space, and examine other countries satellites.


14 posted on 03/22/2012 11:00:11 PM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238

This is exciting U-238.

Have you seen this space plane or just read about it?


15 posted on 03/23/2012 12:08:08 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: Cindy

I have followed the project for quite a while.


16 posted on 03/23/2012 12:20:26 AM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238

Chances are 99.99% that dear leader has told the Soviets (who are now officially back in business) all the secrets about it...


17 posted on 03/23/2012 1:34:38 AM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: SuperLuminal

I agree with that. I hope that the USAF and DARPA is keeping a very tight lid on this.


18 posted on 03/23/2012 1:38:31 AM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238

What payloads are aboard the Air Force’s X-37B space plane, which has been orbiting the Earth for more than a year, remains top secret....12 tons of pork, to be dropped on as yet unnamed countries. George Noory told me. Ed Danes verified it.


19 posted on 03/23/2012 2:05:04 AM PDT by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: U-238
hat the service has no intention of purchasing any more of the winged, reusable vehicles, which resemble a smaller version of NASA’s now returned space shuttle.

Translation: we would like to buy more space vehicles, but due to the severe budgets cuts already implemented and still more severe ones to come, plus the tremendous cost of the F-35, we will have to make due with what we have.

20 posted on 03/23/2012 3:32:30 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Remember nthe old Discoverer program? Originally publicized as resarch satellites. With recoverable capsules. Those were our first generation reconsats.


21 posted on 03/23/2012 3:39:19 AM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO, the No Talent Pop Star pResident.)
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To: Safetgiver
What payloads are aboard the Air Force’s X-37B space plane, which has been orbiting the Earth for more than a year, remains top secret...


22 posted on 03/23/2012 4:39:39 AM PDT by JRios1968 (I'm guttery and trashy, with a hint of lemon. - Laz)
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To: U-238
"...the service has no intention of purchasing any more of the winged, reusable vehicles..."

Uh-huh.....

23 posted on 03/23/2012 7:06:30 AM PDT by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: PIF

They can possibly buy more X-37s through the USAF black budgets.


24 posted on 03/23/2012 5:51:30 PM PDT by U-238
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