21:44 GMT +326 March 2017
    The US Air Force successfully launched on Wedneday the reusable unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, United Launch Alliance, which provides launch services to the US government, said in a statement

    Mystery Surrounds Return of Pentagon’s Secretive X-37B Spaceplane

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    After nearly two years in space, one of the US Air Force’s biggest mysteries may be returning to Earth. The Air Force has denied that rumors that its X-37B spaceplane, whose mission is classified, will be landing at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in the near future.

    The experimental X-37B spaceplane was scheduled to return to Earth, according to space news outlet NASA Spaceflight. Despite its name, NASA Spaceflight is not affiliated with the US space agency but they are seen as a reputable source for independent news on the subject.

    The Air Force claimed that there was no landing planned, merely a test. "The X-37 is still on-orbit. The program is conducting a regularly scheduled exercise this week," the Air Force wrote in an email to the press. Previous X-37Bs have landed in California, not Florida.

    The actual purpose of the X-37B is classified, and naturally that has led to significantly more attention being paid to it, as governments, media outlets, and even private citizens try to discern the purpose of these intriguing spaceplanes.

    The X-37 was originally developed by NASA in 1999 as a reusable space vehicle that can launch into orbit and then return. In 2006, the Air Force announced their development of a variant, the X-37B. 

    Most of the project's activities have been secret since then. The Air Force officially describes the spacecraft as "an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force."

    Speculation around the spaceplane's purpose has included a space-based weapons system (which the Pentagon denies), a spy satellite (also rebuked by the Air Force), or a test vehicle for reconnaissance and spy sensors.

    The current mission has seen some of its contents disclosed to the public. NASA has a materials experiment onboard, while nonprofit group The Planetary Society has a solar-sail demo. The main payload remains unknown.

    The first X-37B launched in 2010 and spent 224 days in space. The second launched in 2011 and stayed over twice as long, at 469 days. The third launched in 2012 and spent 675 days in orbit. All three made their landings at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    The fourth and current mission launched has already passed the third, with 640 days in space as of this writing. It is expected to return to Earth some time in 2017.


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    Spaceplane, classified, space, X-37B, Air Force, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, Florida, California
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    • AnomicDust
      Won't be long before X37 can be tracked & destroyed like any other satellite.
    • Alan Reid
      Provocation is the main payload... Pearl was such a big hit the air force figures why not keep at it. Smart commanders will keep those real juicy GPS targets right on the top of the target list.
    • v76in reply toAnomicDust(Show commentHide comment)
      AnomicDust, ? Who said it cant be tracked!? I doubt that you're right.
    • Alan Reid
      It is just plain silly to think that this X-37B is not tracked and watched like a hawk, Using everything Optical,Radar,infrared laser and any other means. Every minute this object is in space or on the ground uncovered it is being watched very closely indeed. Russia,China whoever this craft is very interesting to say the least.
    • support
      NASA has three facilities for simulating the conditions of space on Earth from almost every angle of research. Here are their websites and some great articles on them:





      While both elaborate and thoroughgoing, it is absurd to think a simulation is equivalent to the real thing. At the very least, one has to confirm a congruence between the land-based simulators and what space is really like relative to equipment you are testing.

      I also think the heat is on and was as of 1999 to sort out the gravity wave/dark matter relationship within th econtext of quantum physics empirically as it offers such tremendous rewards when solved. You cannot sort that out at ground level, not completely.

      The USAF is not entirely about bombs and playing Space Invaders for keeps. They do good science at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton. It is a profound tragedy that Russian scientists cannot work together with them as they do with the ISS.

      Having poked at graviton detection methods literature online for the past 6 months and noting how far back research into this goes timewise (the game kicked off around 1998-1999 at Dartmouth with the "starting-gun" publication of a paper on Riemannian reference frame collapse generating gravity waves) , my guess is that the USAF already has a graviton detector array on this space buggy as the behaviour of Heisenbergian co-locating electrons has everything to do with both gravity waves and the behaviour of quantum computing arrays, esp. those arrays which use the cupric oxide superconducting motherboards Berkeley's labs have developed.

      The difference between NASA and USAF research is that NASA has a limited budget. The USAF has not. Go figure.
    • R30soarskyes
      ban ryan bagger
    • support
      Here are the proceedings for a NASA conference on propulsion physics from 1999 which grew out of the referenced Darmouth paper which in turn resulted in the USAF taking over these "responsibilities." Note how open the presenters of technical papers are on the subject and how well-written they are put against today's peer-reviewed products of research. Bob Forward from Hughes is STILL kicking the can down the road with the Casimir effect lol


      That's my best guess as to what the X-37 crew is up to, that and high-stakes poker. It should be a US/Russian/Chinese team effort. I do not think the EU has anything to offer. Seriously.
    • supportin reply toR30soarskyes(Show commentHide comment)
      R30soarskyes, how are we going to harvest silage if we do?! You want to do it by hand, do it yourself :>)
    • Alan Reid
      Speculating on the mission is useless. Assume the worst and plan to react is the reality. I have seen a ton of speculation and it all is wasted breath. Planning to deal with it's threat is the real topic of speculation. Secrecy and orbital operations will attract very dangerous responses, Why else be so provocative? Weapons in space is a very dangerous path to walk, It would be unwise to fail to see ANY secret payload as a potential weapon system. I have no doubt this system is being targeted for elimination the entire time it is flying. current missile tech can wipe out any orbital object. Once the shooting gets started, High ground goes Bye,Bye! Every human knows who will hurt the most in that loss.
    • avatar
      luckysin reply toAnomicDust(Show commentHide comment)
      AnomicDust, at 17,550 mph ya right.. u fucktard
    • support
      Here is the comprehensive historical trail of NASA's advanced propulsion development programme, once its shining jewel and main focus in support of civil, military and space travel technology, from 1999 to 2016. These papers are very impressive not only for their content but for the courage displayed in doing so much with continuously shrinking budgets.

      There are also two volumes on aircraft design from scratch minus of course metallurgical and chemistry concerns (strictly aerodynamics, one Russian but in English and one American, both courtesy of NASA. For those who have wondered how to design an aircraft, these are two basic "cookbooks." ) Enjoy!


      It is a 188 MB .ZIP file so please give it time.

      Everyone wonders why Russian and American aircraft and naval vessels look alike, as a general rule. The basic reason is that both stay on top of each others' research efforts and regularly correspond as a result of engineering and design international forums. There is nothing of espionage to this sharing of knowledge (that is for the details and sub-assemblies crowd). It is an expression of the will for scientists and engineers everywhere to take their craft forward. Basic knowledge is universal. May it always stay that way.

      If the math is a problem (it is for me lol) the website www.easycalculation.com and on a more basic level, www.sciencebuddies.org can provide the help you need.
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