It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Amateur skywatchers spot secret space plane

page: 1
3

log in

join
share:

posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:53 PM
link   

Amateur skywatchers spot secret space plane
Air Force’s X-37B spaceship doesn’t escape attention of satellite fans
By Leonard David
Space Insider columnist
Space.com
updated 2:53 p.m. ET, Sun., May 23, 2010

While the U.S. Air Force is mum about the orbital whereabouts of its X-37B mini-space plane, a dedicated band of amateur skywatchers has got its cross-hairs on the spacecraft.

The unpiloted X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 1 was lofted on April 22 atop an Atlas launcher. It is being flown under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

In U.S. military tracking parlance, when the space plane reached orbit it became identified as Catalog Number 36514, 2010-015A, OTV-1 (USA 212). From there it entered a cone of silence regarding any on-orbit duties.

But thanks to a worldwide eyes-on-the-sky network of amateurs, the spacecraft is reportedly in a 39.99 degrees inclination, circling the Earth in an orbit 401 kilometers by 422 kilometers (251 by 264 miles). This data may change slightly as the vehicle's orbit is better refined, said Greg Roberts of Cape Town, South Africa, a pioneer in using telescopic video cameras to track spacecraft, chalking up exceptional results over the years.


more: www.msnbc.msn.com...




posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:58 PM
link   
 


off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 05:05 PM
link   
Yep, and you can spot the X-37B also, if you go onto Heavens Above, create a free account and input your viewing location. Good charts and accurate times at that site.

It doesn't look like the X-37-B (they GOTTA get a spiffier name for it) is very bright though. Brightest magnitude over the next week from my location is 4.5. Not nearly as bright as, say, the ISS, with its highly reflective solar panels and all. I get to look for it tomorrow night at 21:33.



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 09:39 PM
link   

Originally posted by RUFFREADY
that is wild!! I checked u-tube ann found this!!

www.youtube.com...


Am I missing something here? Thats a link to the 3 Stooges pull a tooth episode. Wrong link maybe?



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 10:21 PM
link   
reply to post by shaolin_dragon
 


lmao. well this shows that you don't have to be a professional to make important discoveries! In fact now that I think about it it seems a lot of discoveries are made by "amateurs" o.O



posted on May, 27 2010 @ 01:35 AM
link   

Originally posted by Iwillnever
reply to post by shaolin_dragon
 


lmao. well this shows that you don't have to be a professional to make important discoveries! In fact now that I think about it it seems a lot of discoveries are made by "amateurs" o.O


The only inherent difference between an 'amateur' and a 'professional' is that one gets paid, the other does not. A professional does not have to be better at what they do, they simply have to be paid - the vast majority of space discoveries are made by people who have dedicated a life to their hobby, and have built up large observatories and spend a lot of their time in there doing their thing.

Professional astronomers on the other hand get to fight over access to decent equipment, and only have a small amount of time to study what they want to study - they don't have the time or the ability to simply scan the sky.



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 12:08 PM
link   
OK- the regular pilots out here, know that the original "cover story" for the XB-37, was it was supposed to be a "liferaft", for the ISS. One was supposed to be kept permanently stationed there, in case of emergency, so the austronauts could abandon the station, and get home safely. Most of us realized, that this WAS simply a cover story. The REAL purpose? Perhaps to service a secret Air Force Orbital Weapons Platform ? Service/deploy spy satellites? Certainly, with the USA retiring the Space Shuttle this fall, we will not REALLY give-up our access to space?
As a private pilot, with a Ranch in N central Nevada, I have seen some VERY odd flying objects, on TWO seperate occasions. Once, while flying through a supposedly inactive MOA, once while flying just west of Nellis AFB.
I do NOT believe in "alien visitors"- but, I DO believe, that our "black projects" have advanced WAY beyond chemical rocket engines, in the last 50 years. I do not for one second, believe that a 1950's aircraft (The SR-71), STILL holds the REAL world's speed record!



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 11:35 PM
link   
Actually the X-38 was the technology demonstrator for the Crew Return Vehicle (space station "lifeboat").

The X-37B is also a technology demonstrator. It evolved from the Military Spaceplane Technology Program (MiST) that has been taking incremental steps (X-40A subscale demonstrator, X-37A Approach and Landing Test Vehicle, and X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle) toward development of a versatile unmanned spacecraft for multiple low-Earth orbit applications.



posted on Jun, 2 2010 @ 03:01 AM
link   

Originally posted by Patriotgal
I do not for one second, believe that a 1950's aircraft (The SR-71), STILL holds the REAL world's speed record!


This comes up a *lot*. People hold up the lack of public development after the SR-71 as 'it must mean everything is secret and we don't know about it'.

No. Seriously, no. The lack of public development is simply because no one really needed anything faster, and only the USAF really needed the SR-71.

The SR-71 was built to solve the survivability issue of overflying the USSR - everyone knew that the U-2 was on borrowed time from the first flight it made (infact, Kelly Johnson gave it a 6 month 'safe' window, but that window lasted for 4 years before the first shoot down). Speed and altitude was the key, so the SR-71 was born.

The problem was, overflights over the USSR were banned before the SR-71 could begin its flights, so it was relegated to Korea, China, Vietnam et al and even those slowly dropped off (relations with China improved to the point where the only way politically overflights could continue was by handing aircraft to Taiwan and training their pilots - this was done with the U-2 quite successfully, but the SR-71 program was canceled within 2 weeks of the first training flight.

The YF-12A (interceptor version of the A-12/SR-71) was canceled because of the complete lack of intelligence supporting assertions that the USSR was developing a Mach 3+ capable bomber (and that lack of intelligence was correct - the Soviets canceled their high speed bomber program early on, before the XB-70 was canceled).

Even the USAF ultimately decided that it didn't need to rely on the SR-71, which is why the U-2 is still flying and the Blackbird isn't.

I have absolutely no doubt that any of the military power houses of the last 30 years could produce an aircraft capable of breaking the SR-71s speed records, but to what end? Satellites are more capable these days, overflights outside of a military action are political suicide, and most combat is handled at long range (with an emphasis on Beyond Visual Range). The only reason to produce such an aircraft would be for those records - such an aircraft serves no practical purpose today.



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:42 PM
link   
reply to post by Shadowhawk
 


Well pointed-out. My bad!
U live near the Mohave, eh?? One of my favorite "campgrounds- the Trona Monuments, near China Lake. One tip- Do NOT go there, late at night, and take the wrong "trail", accross the lakebed!!! You WILL be met by "security"- without EVER seeing a single "NO TRESPASSING" sign!!

Just speaking from EXPERIENCE!! Scared the be-jeezus, out of me!



posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:08 PM
link   

Satellites are more capable these days, overflights outside of a military action are political suicide, and most combat is handled at long range (with an emphasis on Beyond Visual Range). The only reason to produce such an aircraft would be for those records - such an aircraft serves no practical purpose today.


This, I have to disagree with to quite an extent.

Any halfway competent military power is more than capable of tracking satellites. Sure - their trajectories can be altered to some degree, but they are not carrying a ton of fuel, and rapid shifts in trajectory are very costly to the craft's service life.

The advantage an aircraft has (manned or not) is that it provides very little/no predictability. The enemy no longer has the ability to know your windows of vulnerability.

Of course - one could resolve this by pulling a Gandhi and threatening to blot out the sun with spy satellites, but with many nations developing anti-satellite weapons, they can reach out and swat them down if they really don't want to be seen.

Satellites also have vulnerabilities in their data relay systems. Incidents like the Fort Hood shooting have demonstrated there is a very real threat to national security on our own soil coming from insurgents in our own ranks. So, even strategic targets within our own borders are not impossible for a foe to strike.

For this very reason, it is highly likely that some officer(s) have a restricted access research program designed to develop the technology to address the vulnerabilities in satellite coverage.

The SR-71 was a marvel of engineering at the time - and even now has no real equivalent. Any possible product of the programs alluded to above could never begin to touch the service record of the SR-71. Anything that is running would be one or two demonstrator aircraft that end up taking up missions for special forces units.

They are there merely to make sure we don't completely lose the ability, and have the plans already drawn up and tested if we need to put them into production. That is how a lot of the "black" programs work these days - there is no perceived threat worthy of trying to develop, service, and field and entire "black" fleet of aircraft.

But, I would not go so far as to say they do not have an aircraft that trumps the SR-71. However - going much faster than the SR-71 would cause you all kinds of hell in getting a clear optical, thermal, or radar image (we take more than just black and white pictures now). You would want a trans-atmospheric vehicle. Congress has aerospace fighter research on the 'white' budget.

Again - that's not suggesting we have the Pillar of Autumn up there spitting out Longsword fighters or some nonsense, cool as that would be. I'm merely stating that there are plenty of people writing checks with that sort of stuff in consideration for us to rule the idea out, completely.




top topics



 
3

log in

join