X-37: Who is funding it?

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vt_hokie

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Given that NASA is no longer funding X-37 to my knowledge, what is currently driving this program? Is the Air Force funding it, and if so, for what purpose? Are they still planning an orbital test in the near future?<br /><br />I'm disappointed that in the wake of the "OSP" to "CEV" transition, NASA is no longer interested in an advanced "space plane" and would rather go back to capsules and parachute landings. But I'm wondering if there is a chance of seeing X-37 lead to some sort of operational vehicle for the Air Force.
 
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propforce

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If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya !! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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shuttle_rtf

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The USAF is planning something. They've been sniffing around the "new" version of the X-33 for months now
 
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shuttle_rtf

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Whisper to me, cause I'll run with it before you can get over to England <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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propforce

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England... is that where people speak funny english? <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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shuttle_rtf

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Fo shizzle my nizzle. I blame it on the bling bling <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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vt_hokie

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lol....what new version of X-33? <br /><br />It makes logical sense that the U.S. military would still want some of the capabilities that it wanted from the space shuttle back in the 1970's. An Apollo Command Module type capsule is not going to give you the capabilities in LEO that a "space plane" will, including the ability to service or intercept satellites, for example. Of course, an X-37 derived vehicle would have nowhere near the STS' 50,000(?) lb payload to LEO, but it would have a payload bay, based on the drawings I've seen. And I have read the reports of interest in an ultra-high speed weapons delivery platform. It's sad that our society is so militaristic, and I hope that someday we evolve to the point where technology is advanced for peaceful purposes. But nonetheless, I would like to see some agency in the United States working on advanced technology while NASA returns to the days of Apollo!
 
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shuttle_rtf

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Errr, I said that, nor Prop.<br /><br />And....I could tell you but I too would have to kill ya <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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space_dreamer

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There could be a black version of the up dated X33 already. The USAF has been saying for decades that it needs reliable manned access to space. Now, china has a semi military manned space program, I totally agree with you, There must be something going on in secret.<br /><br />I’m a Brit to, which part are you from? <br />
 
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propforce

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<i>".... Fo shizzle my nizzle. I blame it on the bling bling ..."</i><br /><br />See what happens when white people speak hip hop? <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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liquidspace2k

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How do you speak hip hop? Hip hop is a type of beat not a way of speaking.
 
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shuttle_rtf

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>I’m a Brit to, which part are you from? <<br /><br />We get about don't we <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />York.
 
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josh_simonson

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A spacecraft with a capsule return system is just as capable of servicing satelites as a space plane would be. The only dis-advantage of the capsule vs the space plane is that it's cargo-down capability is much lower, while the capsule has strong arguments on it's side on weight, simplicity and reliability.<br /><br />USAF does want space capability, mainly in the form of a 'bomber' that can hit anywhere within an hour, but that won't be manned, and may not even be orbital. It may even be disposable to boot.
 
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vt_hokie

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I would think a capsule design would make it much more difficult to include a RMS type of robotic arm, as well as a means of carrying replacement components such as batteries or gyroscopes (which seem to be the shortest lived components on Hubble). Not that those are large components, but the lack of a payload bay still makes Hubble servicing-type missions more difficult.<br /><br /><i>"USAF does want space capability, mainly in the form of a 'bomber' that can hit anywhere within an hour, but that won't be manned, and may not even be orbital. It may even be disposable to boot."</i><br /><br />Indeed, I realize that a military "space plane" would very likely be unmanned, at least initially, and that a high speed bomber application would not require orbital capability. Although, I have to ask, if it were disposable, what exactly would be the point of that over ballistic missiles?<br /><br />As a side note, haven't there been too many "Aurora" rumors and sightings for it to be a total myth? One must wonder if we already do have a hypersonic aircraft operational, and if so, if it could be used for weapons delivery as well as reconnaissance. If it uses some sort of supersonic combustion ramjet propulsion, it could be capable of reaching the Mach 8 to Mach 10 range, in theory.<br /><br />As for manned spaceflight, I would much rather see an X-37 class "mini shuttle" than a capsule. I think it's well within our ability to design a reliable, capable "orbital space plane", to borrow the term from NASA's now defunct program. Could NASA not save some money by developing X-37 jointly with the Air Force/DARPA/NRO/? instead of developing its own "CEV"?
 
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n_kitson

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The payload bay (for transport to orbit) would probably be incorporated in the service module. This would also be the appropriate place for a disposable robotic arm, if needed. <br /><br />On Aurora: As a very frequent flyer, nothing would be more wonderful than a true hypersonic plane. Unfortunately, the probability of such an aircraft existing is frankly close to zero. Numerous non-classified government agencies and private agencies - such as disaster monitoring organizations - have continuous monitoring facilities that will pick up when an aircraft just goes supersonic, not even to mention hypersonic. If such a craft existed, it would require a MAJOR conspiracy stretching across tens of thousands of individuals in multiple agencies and even multiple countries. Highly improbable.
 
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vt_hokie

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<i>"On Aurora: As a very frequent flyer, nothing would be more wonderful than a true hypersonic plane. Unfortunately, the probability of such an aircraft existing is frankly close to zero. Numerous non-classified government agencies and private agencies - such as disaster monitoring organizations - have continuous monitoring facilities that will pick up when an aircraft just goes supersonic, not even to mention hypersonic. If such a craft existed, it would require a MAJOR conspiracy stretching across tens of thousands of individuals in multiple agencies and even multiple countries. Highly improbable."</i><br /><br />Perhaps. I'd like to think there might be such an aircraft, though! What was causing the sonic booms over southern California in the early 90's? (Have there been any recent reports?) What was/is flying in and out of Groom Lake that requires a 6 mile long runway? (I suppose the runway is likely used for high speed taxi tests, so the length might be for that purpose more than anything.) <br /><br />From a quick google search...<br /><br />http://www.fas.org/irp/mystery/aurora.htm<br /><br /><i>According to another report, by mid-1992:<45><br /><br />"... Aurora was being flown from a base in the Nevada desert to an atoll in the Pacific, then on to Scotland to refuel before returning to the US at night. Specially modified tanker aircraft are being used to top up Aurora's tanks with liquid methane fuel in mid-air... The US Air Force is using the remote RAF airbase at Machrihanish, Strathclyde, as a staging point... The mystery aircraft has been dropping in at night before streaking back to America across the North Pole at more than six times the speed of sound... An F-111 fighter bomber is scrambling as the black-painted aircraft lands, flying in close formation to confuse prying civilian radars."</i>
 
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propforce

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<i>"...The X-37 is funded by DARPA now. ..."</i><br /><br />Yeah but who's the REAL customer? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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I think it would be easier to use Space based vehicles in a staging orbit. Then, what has to be taken up by a manned vehicle is just the people and it can be optimized for that purpose. I also think a disposable arm would be a bad idea. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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propforce

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<i>".... How do you speak hip hop? Hip hop is a type of beat not a way of speaking. ..."</i><br /><br />It's the latest culture phenomena !! See here for reference<br /><br />Bling Bling Ain't A Thing<br /> <br />March 18 2005<br />Counterbias.com<br />Robert Furs<br /> <br />Have you encountered this phenomenon yet?<br /><br />Never mind “shizzle”, found in bad movies as an attempt at painfully lame humor, or in print media, used in a mocking fashion towards rappers and Black lifestyle; Case in point, Mike Ross of the Sun, writing about Edmonton, Alberta's new radio station, The Bounce: “All the playas givin' props to fly shortys spinning phat tracks on the get low, <font color="yellow">fo'shizzle on da schnitzel. No wangstas in this crib, a'ight? See what happens when white people speak hip hop?”</font><br /><br />Yeah, I see it: horrifying, and way overboard. And it happens too often.<br /><br />The latest media urbanization craze in North America is usage of the term “bling” (or, specifically, “bling bling”—double the fo’shizzle fun!). It started in 2003, when the term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary’s venerable lexicon. Webster’s defines bling bling as “jewelry, often gaudy or ostentatious”, its etymology coming “from the sound it makes”. (No mention of the man who made the term famous in 1999, rapper B.G., who once told MTV that he’d wished he’d trademarked the term "so I'd never have to work again.” Man, you’re already blingin’.)<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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josh_simonson

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You don't need a robotic arm to visit the ISS (already has one)<br />You don't need an arm for a moon mission (non on apollo)<br />You do need an arm for a servicing mission of a spacecraft other than ISS which lacks an arm.<br /><br />Okay, so maybe you'd require an arm on 1/5 of all flights then. Requiring the vehicle to carry a re-useable arm, that's only used 20% of the time, is silly.
 
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vt_hokie

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No more silly than driving a car with passenger seats that you use maybe 1/5 of the time, or less! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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n_kitson

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...and even then, it's generally cheaper to launch a new spacecraft than fix an old one.
 
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