The American brand secret spaceplane X-37B, about which nothing was known during the 9 years of the project, is back with another secret mission in space. This time the mini-Shuttle was in orbit for 780 days – from September 7, 2017 to October 27, 2019.
The only thing we know – the spaceplane, developed by us company Boeing, brought into orbit a new compact, previously unknown, small satellites, held in space, military experiments, and, completing the longest to date, flight, returned to Earth on Sunday, October 27.
As reported by the United States air force, space Shuttle landed at the Space center at Cape Kennedy (Cape Canaveral, Florida). “With today’s successful landing of the X-37B has completed the longest flight and successfully completed all the mission objectives”, – said the Director of the rapid capabilities of the U.S. air force Randy Walden. “During this mission was successfully carried out, in particular, the experiments in the Research laboratory of the US air force and was also provided for delivery of small satellites”, – he added.
In the catalog man-made space objects that are available on the dedicated website of the U.S. air force space-track.org information about these satellites is missing, marks RIA “news”.
There is no data on these satellites in the catalog of the spacecraft, posted on the website of the UN office for outer space Affairs UNOOSA. And this directory contains all the information about the in orbit satellites, as all countries are obliged to provide these data on a mandatory basis.
– Technical characteristics, goals and objectives
– Conspiracy theories – what is top secret X-37B
In 2010, there were five space flight mini-Shuttle in the duration from 225 to 780 days in order to perform on-orbit experiments in the interests of the United States air force: from April to December 2010 and from March 2011 to June 2012; December 2012 to October 2014; from 20 may 2015 to 7 may 2017 7 September 2017 October 27, 2019. The next (sixth) the launch of this unmanned vehicle is planned for 2020.
The X-37B was launched by NASA in 1999, but in 2004 moved to the Department of the military. All its details, including cost, are classified.
Conspiracy theories – what is top secret X-37B
In Russia, put forward several versions, which theoretically can be used such objects as X-37B.
The first version of space bomber:
By assumption, the General Director of the Russian space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, theoretically Shuttle X-37B may be a space bomber , capable of striking from orbit.
However, this version does not hold water, says Popular Mechanics. The fact that for strikes on specific targets, the X-37B will have to change orbit. But such maneuvers very quickly, “eats” a limited supply of fuel.
Version two – orbital spy:
Earlier actively discussed the assumption that the X-37B has the purpose of tracking other space stations. But experts noted that the spacecraft fly past each other in orbit at a tremendous speed. Moreover, the orbit of X-37B and other satellites intersect rarely.
On the other hand, the orbit of X-37B passes over the territories of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Because experts agree that if the espionage is not the primary mission of the drone, it is nevertheless capable in the direction of motion to collect some data.
Version three is a very expensive drone:
One of the main reasons why the command of the U.S. air force supports a multi-year project, may be the desire to prove to the US administration the need to allocate funding on the space program.
Perhaps that is why every next flight of X-37B becomes a record. As experts believe, thus the American President want to show unprecedented endurance and efficiency of expenditure of the UAV resources.
A few experts allow that the X-37B is really only a test platform for testing new technologies. In this case, the question remains about why the military are so reluctant to reveal information about the project. The explanation may be simple, the expert from Federation of American scientists Steven Aftergood: “From the history of previous secret projects we already know that mysteries arise where there is no desire to disclose the real cost of programs.”
Technical specifications and tasks
X-37B has a takeoff weight of nearly 5 tons, reaches of 8.9 meters long, 2.9 meters in height.
The scope of its small triangular wings is 4.5 meters.
The Shuttle is equipped with solar panels, which when deployed on orbit to serve as a source of electricity.
The entire flight and landing of X-37B are in automatic mode.
As set out earlier by the Pentagon, the spaceplane is designed for operation at altitudes from 200 to 750 km, is able to quickly change the orbit and maneuver.
It can perform razvedzadachi, deliver small loads into space, convenient for testing of new devices that can be used, for example, on satellites.
A number of experts sees in the X-37B a prototype for the future space interceptor that allows to inspect and, if necessary, disable enemy satellites, and perhaps to put the missile and bomb strikes from orbit.
The Pentagon denies it, assuring that the device is “just a platform to test new technologies.”