Archived posts with tag ‘X-37B’

Danger Room: Video: Secret Space Plane Shatters Orbital Record as Chinese Rival Looms

The second copy of the Air Force’s X-37B robotic space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early Saturday morning, ending a record-breaking 469-day orbital mission that began atop an Atlas rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 5, 2011. The safe landing of Orbital Test Vehicle 2 after more than 15 months in space is an indisputable triumph for the U.S. military and space industry. Much less certain is the X-37′s future. Budget cuts, labor woes and the looming specter of a Chinese rival could blunt the diminutive robo-shuttle’s orbital edge.

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Danger Room: After 15 Months in Orbit, Secret Space Plane Finally Returning to Earth

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The U.S. military’s secret space plane is preparing to return from its second mission after an incredible 453 days in orbit (as of today). The robotic X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, is due to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California sometime in early to mid-June, depending on weather [...]

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Danger Room: A Year Later, Mysterious Space Plane Is Still in Orbit

The Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane gets more mysterious by the day. Designed to spend up to nine months on unspecified errands in Earth’s orbit, the second copy of the Boeing-made craft, known as Orbital Test Vehicle 2, has now been in space for a year and two days — and is still going strong. The endurance milestone is unqualified good news for America’s space force at a time when its funding and future missions are in doubt.

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Danger Room: Air Force Extends Secret Space Plane’s Mysterious Mission

The Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane just got a little more mysterious. 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,” Maj. Tracy Bunko told MSNBC.

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Danger Room: Bureaucracy, Labor Woes Doom Super-Weapons Lab

Aerospace giant Boeing is in the process of shutting down one of America’s most storied laboratories. “Building 31,” part of Boeing’s research facility in Huntington Beach, California, helped develop some of the Pentagon’s most secretive weapons — that is, until bloated bureaucracy and benefit cuts demoralized and scattered its employees. Under current plans, the 60-year-old lab will close its doors for good in mid-2013.

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Danger Room: When Secret Sats Spy on Us, Monsieur Legault Spies Back

From mysterious robotic space planes to giant spy satellites the size of school buses, space is teeming with secret American hardware meant to gaze down on insurgents, terrorists and, well, everybody on the third rock from the sun.

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Danger Room: Secret Space Plane Headed Back into Orbit

The U.S. Air Force’s most mysterious spacecraft is headed back into orbit after a four-month hiatus. The second copy of the Boeing-built X-37 robotic space plane is slated for launch, atop an Atlas V rocket, from Cape Canaveral in Florida sometime on Friday. Forecasts of bad weather could push the launch to Saturday.

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Danger Room: Russia Working on Mysterious Space Plane of Its Own

It’s official: the space race is on again.


Is China Building a Space Plane to Rival America’s?

China has test-flown a robotic space plane similar to the U.S. Air Force’s secretive — and highly potent — X-37B.


Danger Room: Secret U.S. Space Plane Eludes Observers; May Spook Governments, Too

Transparency. Openness. International cooperation. These are some of the principles the U.S. should embrace in order to “safeguard U.S. satellites and protect space,” according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Problem is, one of America’s latest and greatest space gizmos runs afoul of those noble ideas. With its secretive X-37B “spaceplane,” the U.S. has been anything but transparent, open and cooperative.

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