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LOS ANGELES - After a decade of development, the Air Force this month plans to launch a robotic spacecraft resembling a small space shuttle to conduct technology tests in orbit and then glide home to a California runway.
The ultimate purpose of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle and details about the craft, which has been passed between several government agencies, however, remain a mystery as it is prepared for launch April 19 from Cape Canaveral, Fla
Originally posted by toreishi
reply to post by MikeboydUS
ok, you say they're going to use this craft or others like it to deliver personnel anywhere in the world in under an hour. but won't those personnel be burned to a crisp when they get to the ground? or have they come up with personal spacesuits that can keep grunts from being barbecued upon reentry?
Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion or SUSTAIN is a concept first proposed in 2002 by the United States Marine Corps to deploy Marines via spaceflight to any location on Earth.
Project Hot Eagle, launched by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory, is an investigation into the development and use of suborbital spacecraft to fulfill this vision. Hot Eagle would use a craft based on a design similar to Space Ship One, which could launch a squad on a suborbital trajectory in two stages and deliver them anywhere on two hours' notice.
Extraction would have to come by other means. Future proposed capabilities for the Marine Corps include launching into low earth orbit to choose the time of an attack.
Delivery of soldiers by rocket has been proposed before, including by General John B. Medaris, head of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in the 1950s. The lander itself is designed to hold a 13 man squad and land in almost any terrain at any time, avoiding diplomatic concern for airspace rights.
"As long as you're confused you're in good shape," said defense analyst John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. "I looked into this a couple of years ago - the entire sort of hypersonic, suborbital, scramjet nest of programs - of which there are upwards of a dozen. The more I studied it the less I understood it."