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Top Secret USAF orbital space plane

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posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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Have a look at this link on SpaceFlightNow to see the USAF un-manned obital space plane.

I suppose it all makes sense that the shuttles are to be mothballed with tech like this not only on the drawing board, but actually built and setting space flight records. Being Air Force, could you imaging it not being weaponised?





The X-37B on the Vandenberg runway after landing. Credit: U.S. Air Force


Would it just be my way of thinking, or is it more thrifty to employ USAF Technicians to run the show at the vehicle side than NASA employees, plus there's the added bonus of not having to justify what exactly it is that you're up to.

Thoughts on the possibility to upgrade to manned and / or weaponised would be a starter...




posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:22 AM
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I looked at the photo in the link.
There are just so many things wrong with this picture that I'll just review three things about it.
1. Why is it sitting on concrete blocks?
2. Why is the ground crew members not wearing a respirator (refueling) nor in USAF uniform?
3. Why does this photo look manipulated by photo shop?
edit on 31-12-2010 by Violater1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:24 AM
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I believe this craft is testing the viability of dropping space based kinetic weapons, mainly bunker busters, and that is to be one of it's chief payloads. I also wonder what the power plant on this thing is considering that it doesn't appear to have any ability to deploy solar arrays.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


does look a bit odd how it is just out there on the runway when i am sure these things are launched on vertical launchpads.
they do exist though, there is no doubt about that.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 11:50 AM
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Okay guys, I encourage you to have a look and a read at the article linked in my original post...

From SpaceFlightNow ...


U.S. Air Force and Boeing Co. engineers will thoroughly review the performance of the first X-37B space plane before committing to launching a duplicate vehicle in the spring of 2011, according to Pentagon officials.

Wrapping up a secret mission in orbit, the unmanned spacecraft glided back to Earth Dec. 3 and made a pinpoint landing on a 15,000-foot-long runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The space plane, also called the Orbital Test Vehicle, launched April 22 on a conventional expendable Atlas 5 rocket and circled Earth for nearly 225 days, but much of its activities the last eight months are classified. The Air Force says the flight was focused on proving the craft could operate in space and survive a fiery return to the ground.





I was wondering what those blocks are, but I have watched a video of ultra heat resistant blocks used to coat the underbelly of the conventional shuttles.

This is REAL, by the way. Spaceflight Now is a very respectable site.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by Happyfeet
I believe this craft is testing the viability of dropping space based kinetic weapons, mainly bunker busters, and that is to be one of it's chief payloads. I also wonder what the power plant on this thing is considering that it doesn't appear to have any ability to deploy solar arrays.


Excellent point... If you make something military, you don't have to answer questions like that.

Here's another picture for you from Wiki...




Also from Wiki...


The Boeing X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle is an American unmanned spacecraft. It is operated by the United States Air Force for orbital spaceflight missions intended to demonstrate reusable space technologies.[1] The X-37 is a reusable robotic spaceplane that is a 120% scaled derivative of the X-40A. It has a length of over 29 ft (8.9 m) and features two angled tail fins.

The X-37 began as a NASA project in 1999, then was transferred to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004. It had its first flight as a drop test on 7 April 2006, at Edwards Air Force Base. The spaceplane's first orbital mission, USA-212 was launched on 22 April 2010 using an Atlas V rocket.[3] Its return to Earth on 3 December 2010 was the first test of the vehicle's heat shield and hypersonic aerodynamic handling.[4]

[2]


My hypothesis is that it's a stepped programme to introduce a manned military presence in space, but without the massive overheads of the NASA programme, plus there's the added bonus that politicians have very little say in what's onboard, what its capabilities are, and...

It can tie in with the alleged US Navy presence in space operations.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:18 PM
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Originally posted by boyg2004
This is REAL, by the way. Spaceflight Now is a very respectable site.


Yes it's real. There have been quite a few threads posted on this topic going back a few years actually.

Here's a good one

US military's top secret X-37B shuttle 'disappears' for two weeks, changes orbit



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:36 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Excellent link!

What I don't really get is why would you have a re-useable craft if the intention wasn't to return something from space. Orbiting satellites can quite comfartably do re-con, and could feasibly launch pre-loaded weapons that are to be used only occasionally or as the ultimate deterrent. With high-speed data transfer technologies, there is no requirement for vehicle return to analyse High Definition photos.

To have a re-usable system, which is very expensive to maintain and to control on landing (it burst a tyre on landing), implies, to me anyway, that the intention is to either deliver or return something or someone from either the Space Station or a Space Station.

Or... perhaps, to go further. It did go 'off radar' for a wee while.

How long would a Lunar orbital insertion and return take with a small external on-board booster? Coupla hundred days, say...?



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:44 PM
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reply to post by boyg2004
 


It's autonomous but can be piloted remotely. That was it's original official billing. ATS discussed it in detail in a massive thread on it earlier this year.

There are no crew accommodations, With the miniaturization of modern technology it's not hard to imagine football sized Satellites/Killer Drones in space.

SDI-Brilliant Pebbles anybody?
The First video is of an early test late 80s early 90s. The second video at the end 0:10 shows the latest model. The X37B could carry and deploy 100's into individual orbits from it's cargo bay.








posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment11911335

links a tarmac photo, built by boeing/nasa and returning from a 7 month space mission.

other readings off other websites seem to indicate that this space plane is the unmanned version to be used to replace the ISS soon to be unmanned. this site indicates that nasa is solely focused on learning WHEN the catastrophies are to begin with certainty. along sometime march april as quakes continue and earth gets rearranged expect this plane to go up and the ISS to be closed down. did anyone remember the gunman video by CBS at the most recent launch attempt...nasa is pissed as anyone in space is on a suicide mission, hence the UNMANNED version as no sane individual would go up in space, leave loved ones, and die there...

hope this helps you...if not ignore and go about your business...



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:09 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Slayer is correct. It is real.
However look at the control surfaces in this photo of The Real X-37.
To enlarge the photo, open up MS word. Then right click on the image and use the “copy image” option. Next, go to your word document and “paste” the image to the document. Now “drag” the corner of the photo diagonally to the outer margin. Next use the document enlarger command in the tool bar. You can now see the image with some small pixalation.
upload.wikimedia.org...
Now compare it with the model of the X-37 in the OP’s provided link.
spaceflightnow.com...
Next, look at the landing gear of the real x-37.
www.abovetopsecret.com...
Now compare the landing gear of the model at SpaceFlightnow.
spaceflightnow.com...
They are different. They are different because SpaceFlightNow is using photos of a model, and not the real bird. And I still question the authenticity of the first photo. The model has to rest on concrete blocks because it can’t support it’s own weight. And then it has to be carted around on it’s own Hollywood trailer and non-gobermnt pick-up truck.
For crying out loud! It’s not even a Pintle trailer hitch! Really! Towing a 100 million dollar bird around on this thing!
I’m not discrediting the OP, only stating that the SpaceFlightNow photos Are Not Real.
No way, not today, and not tomorrow.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:13 PM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


Also note the Ammonia vent in the enlargement of the photo at
upload.wikimedia.org...
Then read this:
laserstars.org...



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


spaceflightnow.com...
Next, look at the landing gear of the real x-37.



That's not the "Real" one.
The photo was of a "Prototype" which was a test bed from a few years ago. The one you think is the "Real" one was a scaled down model which was testing it's glide ability once it was released from a plane.


edit on 31-12-2010 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 



Yes indeed. I misspoke.
However, this bird does fly and it does land. The landing gear won't collapse on this craft.
However, the landing gear of the model can't even support it's own weight.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by EdWard54
reply to post by Violater1
 

bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment11911335
links a tarmac photo, built by boeing/nasa and returning from a 7 month space mission.



Sorry.
Got a 404 when I tried to use your link.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


No problem.

Even many internet sites and Main Street news agencies have it wrong [Imagine That] and post that old pic as if it was the one that launched But those of us who are space flight enthusiasts were aware of the glide test years ago the DoD released that funky glide test pic. When the REAL craft launched earlier this year the DoD re-released that photo. If you look at the prototype it's all funky looking then look at the REAL full sized one it's all finished and refined looking.

edit on 31-12-2010 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)


jra

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by Violater1
Also note the Ammonia vent in the enlargement of the photo at
upload.wikimedia.org...
Then read this:
laserstars.org...


Ammonia is used on the Space Shuttle and ISS as a coolant for getting rid of unwanted heat. I would imagine that the X-37 is no different.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by Happyfeet
 


Most likely it has some form of rods from god or a high focus chemical laser and I wouldn't be surprised if it could carry a couple small cone shaped nuke like ICBMs do.

If one were to cross reference the time frame this shuttle was gone with and any strange series of rapid earth quakes; Would we find the firing range they targeted on earth?



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 02:47 PM
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Originally posted by jra

Originally posted by Violater1
Also note the Ammonia vent in the enlargement of the photo at
upload.wikimedia.org...
Then read this:
laserstars.org...


Ammonia is used on the Space Shuttle and ISS as a coolant for getting rid of unwanted heat. I would imagine that the X-37 is no different.



True.
I was reading another thread on the X37 which Tim was discussing it being used as a laser platform.
This came to mind.



posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 03:00 PM
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Some have even speculated that it does have a "crew member"
A military version of this guy.




The world’s first space robot plans to launch Nov. 1

Robonaut 2 robot is very close to humans from the structure, with a human torso, head and arms, is a joint NASA and General Motors design, planning to complete the International Space Station to help astronauts work and maintenance tasks sporadic.



Notice on the vehicle there is a "Hatch" on the back half of the craft? Who needs a giant robotic arm to deploy or retrieve items when we have one of these up there.



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