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X-37B/Hall Thruster/Project (METIS)

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posted on May, 8 2015 @ 09:56 PM

While the Boeing-built X37B drone's nature remains mysterious, we at least know that it's a test-bed for futuristic space tech. When it launches on May 20th, it won't only be testing a new type of Hall effect thruster for the Air Force, it will also be carrying a collection of 100 different materials that can potentially be used for future spacecraft, rovers, rockets and other space hardware. The project is called Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS), and it was designed to build on the data gathered from previous testing onboard the ISS. Any material meant to be used in space has to undergo rigorous testing first before it's incorporated into billion-dollar machines and vehicles.

Since it's extremely difficult to emulate the conditions of space on Earth, astronomers have to actually send samples out there to see how they'd hold up in harsh environments for extended periods of time. The quarter-sized samples that will take off with the X37B, for instance, will remain in orbit aboard the drone for 200 days. When they get back, a a team will assess how they fared, and manufacturers can choose from among those that performed well.


Ask someone in the street what they know about the Air Force's top-secret space plane and you'll probably wind up getting pinched by the NSA. Nobody can claim to know much about the X-37B, beyond the fact that it's the force's long-term space vehicle, capable of staying in orbit for more than a year at a time. In the run up to the craft's next jaunt around the planet, however, someone has let slip the details of an experiment that it'll be carrying out. According to Spaceflight Now, Air Force officials have revealed that the autonomous drone will be used as the test-bed for a new type of Hall effect thruster.

Now, the biggest problem with spaceflight is that the more fuel a craft carries, the heavier it is to launch. Since it costs roughly $3,000 per pound to put objects above the atmosphere, equipping a shuttle or satellite with enough gas to get around is prohibitively expensive. A Hall thruster lets small craft scrimp on the fuel costs by electrically charging super-light Xenon particles. This mix can then produce a weak but constant source of propulsion, perfect for making small adjustments to your trajectory in space. The trade-off, of course, is that the mix isn't strong, so the thruster has to burn for longer in order to do the same job. Imagine it a bit like trying to push a gondola with a twig: it's lighter in your hand than a pole, but it'll take you a lot longer to get somewhere.


This drone is Americas present contribution to the Space Program that can apparently act as a platform for various propulsion and experimental research.

Cleary in relation to future efforts at propulsion the first efforts with be in relation to robotic technology as in relation to the X37B.

Any thoughts?

posted on May, 8 2015 @ 10:35 PM
a reply to: Kashai

"Any thoughts?"

Total propaganda BS!

This toy is the US's response to manned space activities after half a frigging century? A damned drone not hauling even a chimp? Keeping that death trap the shuttle operational for 135 flights was bad enough. That gamble cost us two crews that died assuming that they were on the cutting edge of space flight, making a difference.

The main drive of secret US work since the early 1960 was to reproduce the magical systems of the UFO. We've seen the product of that work for about the last twenty years with the mysterious triangles that move frequently over the US but rarely any other country. The US Space Force is a living entity in the services implementing the Reagan timetable for control of space out to and including the Moon. Wake up, people, demand that our military make the vehicles public so we can save lives and billions of dollars wasted on a variety of projects and programs used to hide our secret military work in space.

Now, NASA is telling us that they have developed a new engine that strangely and unbeknownst to them has a warp side effect that may be just dandy for faster than light travel. Don't believe it folks, it is real, but nothing more than the UFO drive being revealed. The only good news is that they are spoon-feeding it out bit by bit. The real revelation is coming.

posted on May, 8 2015 @ 10:38 PM
a reply to: Aliensun

Perhaps the real REVELATION in your case is that you need to increase your medication.

Or get on some.

edit on 8-5-2015 by Kashai because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 8 2015 @ 10:41 PM
a reply to: Kashai

It is logical to test various alloys and coatings in thermal vacuum conditions in Space. In 1990's beryllium copper was thought to be a strong candidate. Loss of NASP funding stopped all testing in 1993.

Regarding the previous mission, they may have spied over China and Russia. You don't launch an Submarine launched ICBM five miles off Catalina Island and get away with it. The military industrial complex will get even and more.

Nice OP

posted on May, 8 2015 @ 10:50 PM
Please direct your comments to this ongoing thread


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