Air Force X-37B spaceplane spends 780 days in orbit conducting classified experiments

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,692   +124
Staff member

The United States Air Force over the weekend welcomed back a familiar face, one it hasn’t seen in person for more than two years.

On September 7, 2017, the Air Force used a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle-5 (OTV-5) spaceplane into orbit. Sunday morning, the secretive spaceplane touched down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, concluding a mission that saw the autonomous craft spend 780 days in orbit.

The spacecraft beat its own record by 62 days. That’s impressive considering the spaceplane was originally designed to remain in orbit for just 270 days.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Boeing-built spaceplane has been up to for the past couple of years. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office Director Randy Walden said they successfully completed all mission objectives, adding that it hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments and deployed some small satellites into space.

In 2017 just before the launch of OTV-5, the Air Force said one of the payloads would be the Air Force Research Laboratory Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader which would “test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipe technologies in the long duration space environment.”

The Air Force said it is preparing its sixth X-37B mission which will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in 2020.

Permalink to story.

 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,193   +4,318
TechSpot Elite
I guess now we see why the latest Boeing 737 Max planes have been falling out of the sky - they simply haven't been Boeing's priority, too busy with lucrative military contracts.

And who cares about some 128 people die in the plane crash, while Boeing is developing something that may have the potential to kill millions, after the military get their hands on it. And it pays well too.

I'm guessing, whatever Boeing lost financially because of the crashes, they have made up and more from the military, because those guys are experts at how to waste taxpayer's money (check out 1998 movie The Pentagon Wars).
 
Last edited:

EClyde

Posts: 2,348   +915
I guess now we see why the latest Boeing 737 Max planes have been falling out of the sky - they simply haven't been Boeing's priority, too busy with lucrative military contracts.

And who cares about some 128 people die in the plane crash, while Boeing is developing something that may have the potential to kill millions, after the military get their hands on it. And it pays well too.

I'm guessing, whatever Boeing lost financially because of the crashes, they have made up and more from the military, because those guys are experts at how to waste taxpayer's money (check out 1998 movie The Pentagon Wars).
Naw
 
  • Like
Reactions: mbrowne5061

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,597   +6,112
One of the potential benefits would be to have these act as low orbit spy satellites that can get even better resolution and with even minor fuel capacity can have their orbits altered to meet ever changing requirements, although that day/need is rapidly disappearing and having to contend with a few of these 30,000+ small satellite projects will be more of a challenge. Heck, just look at much they save by NOT having to contend with space toilet!
 

etempest

Posts: 48   +32
I guess now we see why the latest Boeing 737 Max planes have been falling out of the sky - they simply haven't been Boeing's priority, too busy with lucrative military contracts.

And who cares about some 128 people die in the plane crash, while Boeing is developing something that may have the potential to kill millions, after the military get their hands on it. And it pays well too.

I'm guessing, whatever Boeing lost financially because of the crashes, they have made up and more from the military, because those guys are experts at how to waste taxpayer's money (check out 1998 movie The Pentagon Wars).
The Neutron Bomb already exists,
 

Capaill

Posts: 1,200   +738
One of the potential benefits would be to have these act as low orbit spy satellites that can get even better resolution and with even minor fuel capacity can have their orbits altered to meet ever changing requirements, although that day/need is rapidly disappearing and having to contend with a few of these 30,000+ small satellite projects will be more of a challenge. Heck, just look at much they save by NOT having to contend with space toilet!
On the bright side, 30,000+ small satellites = ICBM shield :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: EClyde