What "is" the X-37B?

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What "is" the X-37B?

UNREAD_POSTby Tor-DK » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:21 pm

http://www.sushi-x.com/gallery/nonseq/x ... sions.html

What is the purpose of the X-37B? Any guesses?

The last one (3rd launch) was launched in November 2012 and is still in orbit... what is it doing there? If they wanted to test it as a reusable space vehicle, wouldn't it make more sense to return it and launch it again, instead of letting it hang up there for more than a year?

It has been suggested (e.g. links above), that it might be a weapon for destroying satellites. However, if this is the case, why would you need a vehicle that is able to return? Why not just let it stay up there until it has done it's job and then let it burn up on re-entry. A less complex vehicle, that is not intended to re-enter, would probably be cheaper to make and put into orbit.

A spy plane? Again, why the need to re-enter? All data could be sent back to earth (like any spy satellite).

If you need to re-enter, wouldn't it be because you want to bring something back? But it's too small to bring a satellite back (let alone to put one to orbit like the shuttle). So what is it bringing back?

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Re: What "is" the X-37B?

UNREAD_POSTby Sascha » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:12 pm

I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s no weapon and it’s experimental. The shuttle could not stay in orbit for more than two weeks, so I guess this was built to stay in orbit for extended periods (a year or longer). If you have a payload that you’d like to have in orbit for some time but then retrieve it back, AFAIK the only other option right now is the ISS. And if you are the military, that might not be what you want.
OK, I’ve already said too much.
Hey, what’s that Apache doing out there?
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Re: What "is" the X-37B?

UNREAD_POSTby Elefant » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:27 pm

The Apache is probably on a training mission, so relax my friend !
I would have been more worried if you had wrote "Hey, what's that Predator doing out there ?"

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