April 23, 2010
An Air Force plane prompts concerns about space-based military operations. CNN's Barbara Starr reports. Follow UFO Report on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/uforeport2009
Is the X-37B the start of war in space?
By Peter Farquhar, Technology Editor April 22, 2010- http://www.news.com.au/technology/is-the-x-37b-the-start-of-war-in-space...
IT'S one of the most anticipated space launches since the original manned space shuttle Columbia blasted off in 1982.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been sunk into it over nearly 20 years of research and development.
It's the X-37B.
And unfortunately, that's all we can tell you, because the unmanned spacecraft, which looks like a small shuttle, is one of the US military's most tightly guarded secrets.
Built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, the X-37 program was originally headed by NASA.
It was later turned over to the Pentagon's research and development arm and then to a secretive Air Force unit.
And when it launches tonight (local time) in a nine-minute window between 23:52 and 00:01 GMT (09:52 - 10:01 AEST), only a very select few in the US military will know what its "unspecified payload" is.
We do know it can circle the Earth for more than nine months.
In all honesty, we dont know when its coming back, US Air Force spokesman Gary Payton told reporters yesterday.
The X37-B was originally planned to require the services of a space shuttle to launch, but now it's a standalone craft.
It also lands like a space shuttle.
As usual with this type of thing, there is plenty of speculation about what the military will do with the X-37B.
Christian Science Monitor believes the X-37B rollout may signal the start of war in space, quoting arms control advocates who say it's clearly the beginning of the "weaponisation of space".
What information the US military has chosen to release only claims that the spacecraft will conduct "classified experiments" while in orbit.
Mr Payton said the Air Force's main interest is to test the craft's automated flight control system and learn about the cost of turning it around for launch again.
"Currently, we're looking at a 2011 launch for that second tail number," he said.
"That assumes everything goes properly as predicted on this first flight."
Whatever that means.
Carol Rosin- Weaponization of Space- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-nheW7faMY
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