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US secret space plane spends a year in orbit

Posted on Sunday, 11 March, 2012 | Comment icon 16 comments | News tip by: bouncer

Image credit: NASA

The experimental US Air Force X-37B space plane was supposed to land in December after nine months.

Built like a miniature version of NASA's space shuttles, the 29ft solar powered space plane is currently high up in orbit around the Earth travelling at 17,000mph. "We initially planned for a nine-month mission," said Lieutenant-colonel Tom McIntyre. "Keeping the X-37 in orbit will provide us with additional experimentation opportunities and allow us to extract the maximum value out of the mission."

"The plane resembles a mini space shuttle and is the second to fly in space."

  View: Full article |  Source: Daily Mail

  Discuss: View comments (16)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by bouncer on 11 March, 2012, 23:02
yep, and the operative word being 'could'.. and not... 'has'...
Comment icon #8 Posted by marcos anthony toledo on 11 March, 2012, 23:39
If this is what the Space Shuttle was from the beginning it would still be in use upgraded of course to bad NASA always get the junk.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 March, 2012, 1:48
I guess the desire to be informative and factualy correct is lost on some too. Whether you were being sarcastic or not is irrelevant, your post still missed the point. "Could" is the exact opposite of being the operative word. As Rafterman was pointing out it is not capable of getting to Mars. Quite a lot of people actually. It has been constantly tracked since launch by many amateurs around the world. It's position at almost Amy given time known with a high degree of accuracy. Only when it changed its orbit was it lost for a while, and even then it was found again, usually... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 March, 2012, 2:00
Nonsense. This vehicle could not have existed without the shuttle. It draws heavily on technology used for the shuttle. It is tiny, incapable of carrying crew, has such a tiny payload bay that virtually none of the shuttle's payloads could fit inside it. It was not designed to, and is not capable of, carrying out the missions that the shuttle did. In fact, when this was still a NASA project the X-37 was going to be carried into orbit by the shuttle. To simply describe the shuttle (the most complicated machine ever made) as junk shows, in my opinion, a profound lack of knowledge, understa... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Rafterman on 12 March, 2012, 16:23
Guess I've just been around here long enough to know where these kinds of threads head relatively quickly.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BrandOfAmber on 12 March, 2012, 16:40
Waspie, some of us care and are paying attention. Keep up the good fight. -Brand
Comment icon #13 Posted by aquatus1 on 12 March, 2012, 23:39
And somewhere in a hidden laboratory, an intern reading through the UM forum stares at their monitor, glances over to last year's scheduled projects, and notices that one of them wasn't actually checked off as "completed". "Oh, yeaaah...forgot about that one..."
Comment icon #14 Posted by DONTEATUS on 16 March, 2012, 1:00
Too funny ! but true ! ITs where they get all there underground data ! Just ask Badeskov`s !
Comment icon #15 Posted by Englishgent on 16 March, 2012, 1:31
Hi Waspie-Dwarf. Your statement ''To simply describe the shuttle (the most complicated machine ever made)''...... is totally wrong. I once purchased a flatpack DIY bunkbed for my kids and I can assure you it was much, much more complicated than the shuttle.

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