AF Launches Space Plane Amid Secrecy

At this point, it looks cool, carries stuff into space, doesn’t put astronauts at risk, is cheaper than the space shuttle, and preserves our ability to lift things into space independent of the Russians or Chinese, so right now I’m not too worried what they carry into space with it.


http://www.military.com/news/article/af-launches-space-plane-amid-secrecy.html?ESRC=airforce-a.nl

AF Launches Space Plane Amid Secrecy

x-37b4.5th.jpg

April 23, 2010

Christian Science Monitor|by Gordon Lubold

WASHINGTON — The X-37 unmanned spacecraft blasted off into its mysterious orbit Thursday night and may be gone for the better part of a year.

The 29-foot spacecraft resembles a mini space shuttle and launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 7:52 p.m. Eastern time atop an Atlas V rocket.

Other than the launch itself, which Air Force officials jokingly conceded they couldn’t keep secret even if they tried, most of what the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle program is all about is classified.

That has led to speculation that the spacecraft is an American step toward the militarization of space -– an assertion that the Pentagon refutes. The craft could also be used to conduct experiments in space, or to fix or return to Earth damaged satellites, experts say.

As the launch approached, however, some details about the spacecraft and its mission began to surface.

(Click link above for complete article)


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