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US Air Force's Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit
Space.com ^ | Aril 24, 2014 | Mike Wall, Senior Writer

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 ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: darpa; dod; nasa; secretmission; spaceexploration; wtfisit; x37b
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An X-37B robotic space plane sits on the Vandenberg Air Force base runway during post-landing operations on Dec. 3, 2010. Personnel in self-contained protective atmospheric suits conduct initial checks on the robot space vehicle after its landing.


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.

1 posted on 04/24/2014 9:19:06 AM PDT by lbryce
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To: SunkenCiv

You might find this interesting for your legion of fans.


2 posted on 04/24/2014 9:21:20 AM PDT by lbryce (Barack Hussein Obama:The Worst is Yet to Come)
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To: lbryce

Those can’t be real space suits. They look even worse than the ones on Star Trek.


3 posted on 04/24/2014 9:23:42 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: Telepathic Intruder
USAF has always had crappy fashion sense in uniforms.

/johnny

4 posted on 04/24/2014 9:25:02 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

Leonard Nimoy revealed that those “space suits” were made from shower curtains.


5 posted on 04/24/2014 9:26:30 AM PDT by apoxonu
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To: JRandomFreeper

Probably the hydrazine made them do it.


6 posted on 04/24/2014 9:27:13 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: apoxonu

Spock obviously didn’t know what shower curtains were really for, if you take my meaning.


7 posted on 04/24/2014 9:28:38 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: lbryce

Let’s ask the Chinese military. They’ll tell us all about it.


8 posted on 04/24/2014 9:29:53 AM PDT by morphing libertarian
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To: lbryce

Why don’t they cancel this thing and keep the A10 or develop the next A10?


9 posted on 04/24/2014 9:31:18 AM PDT by rey
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To: lbryce

Nom Nom Nom

10 posted on 04/24/2014 9:31:44 AM PDT by corkoman
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To: lbryce
not really knowing what it could do until it was tested — which is what they are doing now,

Either that, or it's space junk.
11 posted on 04/24/2014 9:34:29 AM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

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.


12 posted on 04/24/2014 9:34:41 AM PDT by lbryce (Barack Hussein Obama:The Worst is Yet to Come)
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To: lbryce

13 posted on 04/24/2014 9:34:50 AM PDT by Red Badger (Soon there will be another American Civil War. Will make the first one seem like a Tea Party........)
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To: corkoman

LOL. Rod Serling would be proud. :-)


14 posted on 04/24/2014 9:36:20 AM PDT by lbryce (Barack Hussein Obama:The Worst is Yet to Come)
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To: Telepathic Intruder; apoxonu

NOT AS FUNNY AS THIS ONE..................

15 posted on 04/24/2014 9:39:08 AM PDT by Red Badger (Soon there will be another American Civil War. Will make the first one seem like a Tea Party........)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

lmao.


16 posted on 04/24/2014 9:40:16 AM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: lbryce

Maybe not dinner date appropriate but costume party, yes.
17 posted on 04/24/2014 9:40:41 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

I can tell my space suit is closed, because yellow and blue make green! Thanks Ziploc!


18 posted on 04/24/2014 9:55:37 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: lbryce

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.


19 posted on 04/24/2014 9:58:40 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: lbryce

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.


20 posted on 04/24/2014 10:00:00 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: lbryce

It is broke and they don’t dare fix it and give anything away so they are claiming records./s


21 posted on 04/24/2014 10:01:40 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: SunkenCiv

That’s exactly what I thought when reading this article.


22 posted on 04/24/2014 10:02:35 AM PDT by lbryce (Barack Hussein Obama:The Worst is Yet to Come)
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To: Secret Agent Man

Actually yellow and blue make grey, but don’t tell anyone.


23 posted on 04/24/2014 10:02:57 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: lbryce

“Look Charlie, there’s a kid in the wheel well.”


24 posted on 04/24/2014 10:04:34 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Telepathic Intruder

Space suits? Really?
Please tell me you forgot the sarcasm tag.

The X37B is unmanned.


25 posted on 04/24/2014 10:05:38 AM PDT by FreedomOfExpression
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To: Telepathic Intruder

“Those can’t be real space suits.”

Why would you think they’re space suits?


26 posted on 04/24/2014 10:06:13 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: lbryce

X-37B aka Putin’s Surprise.

An Obummer drone strike from SPACE!


27 posted on 04/24/2014 10:06:41 AM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascism article:(http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html))
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To: FreedomOfExpression

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.


28 posted on 04/24/2014 10:07:57 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: Born to Conserve

I saw the picture before I read the explanation. A human character flaw, I admit.


29 posted on 04/24/2014 10:09:25 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: FreedomOfExpression

Slight grammatical error which I’m certain you will ignore.


30 posted on 04/24/2014 10:12:25 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: lbryce

Are they checking wheel wells for stowaways?


31 posted on 04/24/2014 10:22:38 AM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: tet68
I wonder what altitude it was orbiting?

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
Eccentricity: 0.0017808
inclination: 43.5052°
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°

http://www.heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=39025

That's in the same neighborhood as ISS, I think.

32 posted on 04/24/2014 10:30:33 AM PDT by Rio (Proud resident of the State of Jefferson)
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To: Telepathic Intruder
Those are evolutions of the rocket propellent handling suits that evolved from the Titan II ICBM program.

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.

http://www.titan-ii.com/RFHCO.html

33 posted on 04/24/2014 10:41:01 AM PDT by pfflier
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To: pfflier

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.


34 posted on 04/24/2014 10:48:41 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: pfflier

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 ...


35 posted on 04/24/2014 10:54:35 AM PDT by tanknetter
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To: pfflier

Also, when they were being retired and cleaned up for museum displays, the shuttles were referred to as “Mach 25-capable Superfund sites.”


36 posted on 04/24/2014 10:59:17 AM PDT by tanknetter
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To: Telepathic Intruder
The rest of us are not telepathic, so it's hard to tell if someone doesn't know or if they are being sarcastic.
And you seem smart enough to know that you shouldn't assume.    :^)
37 posted on 04/24/2014 11:09:15 AM PDT by FreedomOfExpression
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To: Telepathic Intruder
The Titan program was terminated specifically after the explosion in Damascas Arkansas. However the issues aassociated with the handling of the propellants always made the program problematic through it's lifecycle.

BTW I'm a Minuteman III weenie by training and we also had to deal with MMH and nitrogen teroxide.

38 posted on 04/24/2014 11:20:12 AM PDT by pfflier
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To: SunkenCiv
Definitely defense related. I've often thought it might have been testing a primitive orbital bombardment capability. A 50kg lead slug fired from that kind of orbit would destroy about a six block area. May explain what happened to several of those installations in Iran that got wiped out.
39 posted on 04/24/2014 11:26:40 AM PDT by aegiscg47
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To: FreedomOfExpression

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.


40 posted on 04/24/2014 11:42:05 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: pfflier

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.


41 posted on 04/24/2014 12:03:22 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: corkoman

US Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Passes 500 Days in Orbit


It’s stuck in orbit.


42 posted on 04/24/2014 12:59:09 PM PDT by minnesota_bound
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To: aegiscg47

Ooh, interesting idea. It’s big enough to hold a rail gun and some tungsten projectiles...


43 posted on 04/24/2014 1:06:05 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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from the wiki-wacky:
The OTV-1 X-37B in April 2010, inside its payload fairing prior to launch

Boeing X-37

44 posted on 04/24/2014 1:08:50 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Phil Silvers, agent X-27

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvbg_ezlEks


45 posted on 04/24/2014 1:10:59 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (He'd really fit in around here in some topics.)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

Where enough energy is available, cheaply — such as in space — it might work, but obviously, that doesn’t get it off the ground.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_matter


46 posted on 04/24/2014 1:16:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

I tend to like fermions more than bosons. But then I think “where would I be without bosons”? I can’t decide.


47 posted on 04/24/2014 1:22:24 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: Telepathic Intruder

Cap’t Kirk probably said the same thing. In fact, pretty much any captain.


48 posted on 04/24/2014 3:05:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
Well here's one fermion he learned to avoid. The hard way and a little too late.


49 posted on 04/24/2014 5:48:12 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: lbryce

“What do you mean, you forgot to load the return to earth program.”


50 posted on 04/24/2014 5:55:37 PM PDT by Nachoman (Wisdom is learned, cynicism is earned.)
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