Thursday, December 01, 2011

X-37B...Not Sci-Fi

The 29-foot-long, reusable mini-shuttle was designed to spend up to 270 days in orbit. The 270th day of the winged spacecraft’s second flight is today, but the military has no intentions of bringing the billion-dollar robotic vehicle back to Earth just yet. “It’s still up there,”...
from here

The existence of this new , and secret, space vehicle puts in context the retirement of the 30 year old space shuttle program. Although currently unmanned, the science of the X-37B will hopefully lead to manned vehicles with less sinister missions.

Or not...
But it’s not science experiments that have other countries worried.

They’re concerned that the X-37 could be used to spy on or even “hijack” their own satellites, using “inspection” gear tucked in its payload bay.

Washington could get away with this sort of space espionage because no other government has the technology to comprehensively track the activities of other nations’ space vehicles. “When another state, say Russia or China, uses their dual-use technology, the U.S. has the ability to determine that that was not a hostile act,” said Brian Weeden, from the Secure World Foundation. “But when the U.S. does it, in most cases no one else has information to independently verify what’s going on. That creates a problem.”
from here

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