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U.S. military tests X-37B reusable spaceship

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posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 07:55 PM
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, Apr. 22, 2010 (Reuters) — An unmanned Atlas rocket carrying a miniature space shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday on a technology test flight that could last as long as nine months.
The 20-story rocket, built by United Launch Alliance -- a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co -- lifted off at 7:52 p.m. EDT (2352 GMT) and soared over the Atlantic Ocean, heading toward orbit.

The Air Force Space Command, based in Colorado Springs, which will oversee the mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, has classified details of the prototype shuttle's payload, experiments and planned orbital operations.


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The X-37B looks like a space shuttle orbiter, with a similar shape and payload bay for cargo and experiments. But it measures 29 feet, 3 inches in length and has a 15-foot (4.5-meter) wing span, compared to the 122-foot (37-meter) orbiters with wing spans of 78 feet.

Unlike NASA's space shuttles which can stay in orbit about two weeks, X-37B is designed to spend as long as nine months in space, then land autonomously on a runway.

"In all honesty, we don't know when it's coming back for sure," said (Gary)Payton(Air Force deputy undersecretary for space programs. "It depends on the progress that we make with the on-orbit experiments, the on-orbit demonstrations."

www.newsdaily.com...
This is a good idea to an extent. But I guess it looks like we don't need astronauts anymore for routine space exploration or for orbital experiments. Then again, if they are now that routine, why put them through the risk I guess....



[edit on 22-4-2010 by webpirate]




posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by webpirate
 



Circling the Earth, the X-37B space plane has a full agenda of shaking out new technologies, including advanced guidance, navigation and control. Once the vehicle's payload bay doors open to space, power is provided by a deployable array of gallium arsenide solar cells coupled with lithium-ion batteries.

But after that action item is checked off, what else the X-37B will do becomes a tight-lipped affair.

"Actual on-orbit activities we do classify...for the experimental payloads that are on-orbit with the X-37," Payton said. There's enough payload room, he added as example, to house a couple of small satellites in the range of a few hundred kilograms each.

Given the X-37B's secretive duties, some analysts contend that the mission is provocative, perhaps fanning the flames for war in space.

"Truthfully, I don't know how this could be called 'weaponization' of space," Payton said. "Fundamentally, it's an updated version of the space shuttle kind of activities in space," he added, a new vehicle that could potentially help the Air Force do its space missions better.


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The real question is what is it that they are not telling us. But one thing is for sure is that this is a step in the right direction.



posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 08:50 PM
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reply to post by webpirate
 


Already being discussed here.
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 08:53 PM
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reply to post by rangersdad
 


ok..thanks. I did a search but couldn't find a thread on the launch.



posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by webpirate
reply to post by rangersdad
 


ok..thanks. I did a search but couldn't find a thread on the launch.



That has little activity try this one it has lots of pics

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Apr, 22 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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Please direct your comments to this ongoing Thread - posted on Apr 3 2010

Air Force to launch robotic winged space plane this month


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