US to launch secret 'space warplane'
The Pentagon has set April 21 as the date for the launch of the robotic space plane known as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV)
Military experts argue that the US Department of Defense would not have saved NASA's costly X-37B project, which had been scrapped, if it did not have a military application.
Which really means, this project is continuing because it has a military application.
-They say the US wants to maintain a leading role in space via the development of the new 'space weapon' at a time when other countries like China are expanding their space programs.
-"The first mission will emphasize proving technologies necessary for long duration reusable space vehicles with autonomous reentry and landing capabilities," Angie Blair added.
-She went on to say that the "specific details of the OTV capabilities, limitations and vulnerabilities" remain classified.
-The location of the mission control center for the Boeing-made space vehicle is also a classified secret
If I had to speculate, would this be a handy weapon for shooting out of the sky other countries satellite capabilities? Maybe more.....
Air Force to launch X-37 space plane: Precursor to war in orbit?
Arms control advocates say it is pretty clearly the beginning of a “weaponization of space” – precursor to a precision global strike capability that would allow the US to hover for months at a time over anywhere it chose with little anyone could do about it.
“The idea of being able to launch an unmanned research platform that can stay up there for months on end provides you with all kinds of capability, both military and civilian,”
“I can see where the prospect of having half a dozen of these things with unknown payloads circling overhead could be very troubling to people,” Mr. Hellman says.
Troubling or disturbing?
Either way, whatever the X-37B does, or is capable of, it must be useful.
Because, another one is already being built
Whatever it is or represents, the Air Force likes it. Air Force officials say they are already building another X-37 spacecraft that it hopes to fly by 2011.FYI:
Political analysts say that the X-37B project could be interpreted as a violation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 if the space plane is used for military purposes.
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, officially known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, states that the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind; states shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner; the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes; astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind; states shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and states shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.