Skip to comments.US Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit
Posted on 04/24/2014 9:19:06 AM PDT by lbryce
An unmanned military space plane has achieved a major longevity milestone, zipping around Earth for 500 days on a clandestine mission for the United States government.
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane launched on its third and latest mission on Dec. 11, 2012. As of today (April 24), the vehicle has been aloft for 500 days far longer than its officially stated maximum orbital lifetime of 270 days.
"Clearly, and understandably, the Air Force initially set the expected parameters [of the X-37B] conservatively, not really knowing what it could do until it was tested which is what they are doing now," said Joan Johnson-Freese, professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. [Photos: The X-37B Space Plane's 3rd Mystery Mission]
"Personally, I think it's commendable that they are pushing it to the extent that they appear to be," Johnson-Freese told Space.com via email. "That's the only way to really know what it can do."
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
Video:US Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane
A tiny robotic space shuttle the reusable X-37B looks like NASA's now-retired space shuttle, only much smaller. The robotic space plane is 29 feet (8.8 meters) long by 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall with a wingspan of nearly 15 feet (4.6 m). Its payload bay is the size of a pickup truck bed. (The space shuttle's payload bay, by comparison, could fit two entire X-37Bs inside.)
That nobody knows a damm about what the thing is or does will only serve to be a good thing in regards to our enemies.
You might find this interesting for your legion of fans.
Those can’t be real space suits. They look even worse than the ones on Star Trek.
Leonard Nimoy revealed that those “space suits” were made from shower curtains.
Probably the hydrazine made them do it.
Spock obviously didn’t know what shower curtains were really for, if you take my meaning.
Let’s ask the Chinese military. They’ll tell us all about it.
Why don’t they cancel this thing and keep the A10 or develop the next A10?
Nom Nom Nom
I hadn’t noticed (too busy making sure the post was done right) but I definitely agree. They seem almost laughable, the comparison to Star Trek is right on.
LOL. Rod Serling would be proud. :-)
NOT AS FUNNY AS THIS ONE..................
I can tell my space suit is closed, because yellow and blue make green! Thanks Ziploc!
I think that Zero cancelled the program by decree so it will stay right where it is; its mission is classified, but it was probably intended to test-bed orbital space asset defense and attrition. Zero would be against anything that enhances national defense. Thanks l.
I wonder what altitude it was orbiting?
Could it have been a LEO and it was able to boost
itself up as the orbit decayed, allowing longer
closer observation of earth?
At least some security is being held, anyway.
It is broke and they don’t dare fix it and give anything away so they are claiming records./s
That’s exactly what I thought when reading this article.
Actually yellow and blue make grey, but don’t tell anyone.
“Look Charlie, there’s a kid in the wheel well.”
Space suits? Really?
Please tell me you forgot the sarcasm tag.
The X37B is unmanned.
“Those cant be real space suits.”
Why would you think they’re space suits?
X-37B aka Putin’s Surprise.
An Obummer drone strike from SPACE!
I’m assuming everyone here, notably yourself, is smart enough so I don’t have to use it. Those who aren’t can assume otherwise if they want.
I saw the picture before I read the explanation. A human character flaw, I admit.
Slight grammatical error which I’m certain you will ignore.
Are they checking wheel wells for stowaways?
The orbit data is extracted from the following two-line orbital elements,
1 39025U 12071A 14106.35626708 0.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 02 2 39025 43.5052 134.6527 0017808 302.3985 57.6010 15.57790517 08
|Epoch (UTC):||16 April 2014 08:33:01|
|perigee height:||382 km|
|apogee height:||406 km|
|right ascension of ascending node:||134.6527°|
|argument of perigee:||302.3985°|
|revolutions per day:||15.57790517|
|mean anomaly at epoch:||57.6010°|
That's in the same neighborhood as ISS, I think.
The propellants were hypergolic and consisted of hydrazine and either fuming red nitric acid or nitrogen tetroxide depending on the evolution of the system. Nasty stuff.
I think the Titan program was ended specifically because of the expensive and toxic nature of hypergolic fuel such as hydrazine. Scramjet tech seems like a perfect one to follow but I doubt Zero will support it in favor of every cent going to fuel government jobs and abortion clinics.
Recall that the Germans had several test pilots who literally melted from exposure to the nearly pure hydrogen peroxide used as fuel for the Me 163 Komet rocket fighter ...
Also, when they were being retired and cleaned up for museum displays, the shuttles were referred to as “Mach 25-capable Superfund sites.”
BTW I'm a Minuteman III weenie by training and we also had to deal with MMH and nitrogen teroxide.
I had a boss that kept saying to assume makes an ass out of u and me (texting of course). I’ve been sarcastic before and gotten indignant responses, not just on the internet but in person. The thing about sarcasm is that you must fall short of crossing the line of being serious, or it’s no longer sarcasm. The line is variable, however, depending on the intelligence of the person receiving it. Any sarcasm can be misinterpreted by the average house plant.
I hate the limitation of chemical fuels, but nuclear ones tend to leave a blasted radioactive wasteland of the launch site. I like the Larry Niven solution: air compressed almost to neutron degeneracy. Is that possible? Not now, maybe later.
US Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit
Ooh, interesting idea. It’s big enough to hold a rail gun and some tungsten projectiles...
Phil Silvers, agent X-27
Where enough energy is available, cheaply — such as in space — it might work, but obviously, that doesn’t get it off the ground.
I tend to like fermions more than bosons. But then I think “where would I be without bosons”? I can’t decide.
Cap’t Kirk probably said the same thing. In fact, pretty much any captain.
“What do you mean, you forgot to load the return to earth program.”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.