Friday, April 23, 2010

Military Spaceplane coming to an orbit near you!

The United States Air Force's secretive X-37B robotic space plane blasted off from Florida yesterday ushering in a new era in space technology. The unmanned military Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1) lifted off atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a mission that is expected to take months testing new spacecraft technologies.

The X-37B is a reusable robotic space plane built by Boeing Phantom Works. Its mission is being carried out under the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office with participation by NASA. Key objectives of the space plane's first flight include demonstration and validation of guidance, navigation and control systems – including an autonomous re-entry and landing at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base with neighboring Edwards Air Force Base as a backup.

The X-37B is the first vehicle since NASA's space shuttles with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, Air Force officials said. Thursday's launch capped a long road to orbit for the spacecraft. NASA initially began the project in 1999 and later transferred it to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) in 2004 due to a lack of funding. The Air Force stepped in 2006 to take over the project.

UNETIDA's involvement with the project was not so publicised, leading to speculation that the global organisation would commandeer the project to deploy orbital weapons platforms. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon flew to mission control to personally oversee the launch. When questioned about UNETIDA's involvement with the craft; Creedon responded candidly "We had to be sure that the US continues launching stuff into space" he said "People will go up with the Ruskies from next year yes, but the US will have technical superiority in Orbit, not that there's competition of course. Our assistance was insignificant." Creedon was asked if the X-37B was bringing USAF or even UNETIDA laser satellites into space but he denied knowledge, "Oh no, this is a test flight, it has only equipment for monitoring itself and testing," he said.

This contradicts a press conference given by Gary Payton, Air Force deputy under secretary for space programs. "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," he said."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."

The Air Force has already ordered a second X-37B, presumably the Orbital Test Vehicle 2, which is slated to launch in 2011. But that mission, and any new flights of this first vehicle, hinge on the performance during orbital and landing maneuvers, Air Force officials have said.

Read more here

Source: Fox News /BBC News


Civilian Overseer said...

Hellfire Colonel, does this come equipped with the new tax payer funded piss&vinegar class missles?

vaughan said...

Hmmm I notice the Colonel didn't mention the Hypersonic missile tests that took place this weekend as well.....deniability Colonel?

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

OH BOLLOX!!! It was the contents of the X-37B that was supposed to remain classified, not the Hypersonic Missile Tests I attended as well!!! I'll really have to remember what I'm blogging about, classified list and declassified list, toe-MAY-toe / toe-MAH-toe - wibble!

Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, Damn it man!, now you have to take care of Mr.V.