X-37B launch in April 2010

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docm

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Re: X-37B

Gravity_Ray":2iagig2a said:
I respectfully disagree with you woody. First off we can and should keep the military out of space. They have no business there. Second, the only reason that the military 'appears' to outpace civilian tech, is because nobody questions the military spending un-godly amounts of money (about 70% of our GDP), but hey if NASA gets 0.05% of the GDP all the pencil necks come out and cry foul.
First of all military spending isn't 70% of the US's GDP, nor even 70% of the US budget (a much smaller number even given Obama's loose checkbook policies).

The military budget for 2009 is $515.4 billion out of a $3,500 billion total expenditure, or about 15% of the budget and only about 3.6% of the US's $14.2 trillion GDP.

There is other spending that could be deemed 'military related' like the Dept. of Homeland Security, that part of NASA's budget that is military related, FBI counter-terrorism etc. but all of that comes out to about another $600 billion, and counting all of them the total still comes out to <30% of the budget and less than 8% of the GDP.

This in contrast to during the Kennedy administration when the DoD's budget alone was over 30% of the budget.

Second of all - keeping the military out of space isn't a one way street. If others militarize space then we are obligated to do so for our own protection. I would argue space was militarized long ago (armed Russian spacecraft etc.) and in some ways we're just catching up.
 
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Swampcat

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Re: X-37B

From SpaceflightNow.com

Air Force space plane shooting for April launch

"...an Air Force spokesperson said the unmanned spaceship is scheduled for launch April 19 on an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla."

"The spacecraft measures more than 29 feet long and nine-and-a-half feet tall. Its wingspan is 14 feet, 11 inches, and it will weigh about 11,000 pounds at launch, according to an Air Force fact sheet."

"The OTV [Orbital Test Vehicle -- aka X-37B] will be shrouded inside a bulbous five-meter diameter payload fairing for launch. The Atlas 5 rocket will fly in the 501 configuration with the large nose cone, no solid rocket boosters and a single engine Centaur upper stage."
 
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trailrider

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Re: X-37B

Can we spell "Dyna-Soar II" (rather than dinosaur), boys & girls? :cool: Maybe the X-37B doesn't have a life support system installed, but that doesn't mean one couldn't be installed later. Or maybe we'll see an X-37C. The USAF Office of Rapid Response smacks of a boost-glide reconnasance vehicle, possibly unmanned (an RPV) that would make an SR-71 or U-2 look like a Civil War artillery observation balloon. But it could also be man-rated, and the Atlas V booster as well... Oh, well, we can dream, can't we.

One thing about the Air Force doing the development: NASA doesn't get charged for it!

One comment on mistrust of the military: In the U.S. system, the civilians control the military...which is how it should be! The other thing is that the only reason you are free to criticise and mistrust the military is...because there are a bunch of people putting their "six-o'clocks" on the line, so you can sit there and criticize them! If you said a Thanksgiving prayer, I hope you included all those in harm's way in the defense of our Freedoms, as well as their families who wait for their loved-ones to return!
 
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MeteorWayne

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Re: X-37B

I will merge this thread into the preexisting X-37B discussion.
 
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CalliArcale

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Re: X-37B

Gravity_Ray":1t394k5s said:
I think my ISS comment showed my frustration with (aptly put - bone headed reasons) for cancelling the CRV. This machine looked very much like the CRV drawings. Although I am one of the people that has always maintained that its time to retire the shuttle, it isnt because I thought the shuttle was a poor design per se. Actually the shuttle TPS is quiet robust and if they just came up with a smaller shuttle frame that can sit a-top of a launching vehicle there was no reason to get rid of the shuttle flight system. The real issue was putting the TPS downstream from falling debris. This X37 frame looks wonderful for launch and landing of people and materials to LEO if its sitting on top of a launch vehicle (with life support) :)
Totally agree! Shuttle's awesome, but it does have issues.

If you don't already know, you'll be intrigued to hear that there was, for a little while, an effort to salvage the CRV program by slightly modifying it with an appropriate transstage to mount it on an Ariane V. It was purely paper, but interesting all the same.

Even with your excellent ideas and comments about the military I still distrust them, and I really do not want anything military in space. Thats just going down the wrong path IMHO.
The cows have left the barn on that one, I'm afraid. They are heavily invested in space, though since the late 60s they've been leaving most of the work on manned spaceflight to NASA. Probably the most visible example of milspace technology at present is the Global Positioning System. They've even been to the Moon. The Clementine program was run by the USAF as a technology demonstrator, with science as a happy byproduct.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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Re: X-37B

Docm
I know I was over blowing things a bit with my numbers (they were just off the top of my head), I did google it and came up with these numbers below (which do match your numbers).
I checked with wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_b ... ted_States
and
US DOD 2009 21% of fed budget
US DOD 2009 24% of tax revenue
US DOD non military added approx. 35% of budget
US DOD non military added approx. 40% of tax revenue

This amount approx. equals the military spending of the REST OF THE WORLD. :roll:

By the way these are not real numbers since the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being paid with supplementary budget so those costs are not included in these numbers. Also, all clandestine operations are also not included in these figures. Once you add those two items the %'s are much much higher.

Meanwhile NASA budget is 0.55% of fed budget which I hope we can all agree is way lower than it should be if we are to remain a scientifically advanced culture and first in the world in space exploration.

docm":10puc7qo said:
Gravity_Ray":10puc7qo said:
I respectfully disagree with you woody. First off we can and should keep the military out of space. They have no business there. Second, the only reason that the military 'appears' to outpace civilian tech, is because nobody questions the military spending un-godly amounts of money (about 70% of our GDP), but hey if NASA gets 0.05% of the GDP all the pencil necks come out and cry foul.
First of all military spending isn't 70% of the US's GDP, nor even 70% of the US budget (a much smaller number even given Obama's loose checkbook policies).

The military budget for 2009 is $515.4 billion out of a $3,500 billion total expenditure, or about 15% of the budget and only about 3.6% of the US's $14.2 trillion GDP.

There is other spending that could be deemed 'military related' like the Dept. of Homeland Security, that part of NASA's budget that is military related, FBI counter-terrorism etc. but all of that comes out to about another $600 billion, and counting all of them the total still comes out to <30% of the budget and less than 8% of the GDP.

This in contrast to during the Kennedy administration when the DoD's budget alone was over 30% of the budget.

Second of all - keeping the military out of space isn't a one way street. If others militarize space then we are obligated to do so for our own protection. I would argue space was militarized long ago (armed Russian spacecraft etc.) and in some ways we're just catching up.
One quick comment to trailrider... As I said I am not against the military, but military in space. I understand where our freedoms come from... throwing that in my face was a bit uncalled for. The mistrust I spoke of is not that the military people are bad people, but that the money spent there can be better spent with non military space programs. My mistrust comes from that money being wasted a bit. If I mis-spoke I apologize to all military people.
 
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trailrider

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To GravityRay,
Thank you for clarifying your position. I understand that you feel the money could be better spent elsewhere, however, the reality is that if this program wasn't being covered by USAF funds, it probably would be cancelled altogether! As you know, NASA had to throw in the towel on the X-37A for lack of funds. The fact that USAF took it over will probably provide technical data that can be used for non-military applications. It would be nice if we could eliminate the potential for military activity in space by other entities, but not everybody out there is nice, and some are "on the fence". As long as there is the potential for "badguys" to militarize space, we must be prepared to counter such efforts before "they" do. In point of fact, "space" was militarized the first time a ballistic missile exceeded 50 miles in altitude, and when the first spy satellites were orbited. But some good things can come of such programs, over and above military applications. For example, the software used to digitally enhance spy satellite imaging was declassified and released about four or five years ago. The techniques used to enable the spy satellites to "read your license plate from 200 miles up (or whatever), is now used to enhance medical images, especially in mammography. A close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer this August, utilizing these imaging enhancements. Three years ago it would have gone undetected for another three years, at least, giving it time to spread and threaten her life! As it is, she underwent surgery, followed by radiation treatments, now completed, and, aside from being monitored and taking a pill a day for the next five years, she is (hopefully) cancer-free! Would we have had the technology without the military application? Probably, but how long it would have taken...Heaven only knows!

Godspeed to those still in harm's way in the defense of Freedom everywhere! God Bless America!
 
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vulture4

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The X-37 was not a prototype of a final design, like the CRV. Rather it was a technology demonstrator, an unmanned subscale vehicle to test aerodynamics, autonomous control, and thermal protection systems for a later generation of manned reusable launch vehicles. The configuration is a major advance from the Shuttle; the delta wings allow the Shuttle's high crossrange and avoid the need for entry in a deep stall, as seems to be required with a straight wing, and also allow it to land on a runway rather than requiring a parachute, as was needed for the CRV which was a lifting body configuration. Runway landing appears much more practical than parachutes, particularly for scaling up to a larger vehicle. The forward placement of the delta wings with the V-tails at the back provides greater stability and control authority than the Shuttle and avoids the sensitivity to center of gravity that is a problem with the Shuttle's conventional delta wing.

The military is apparently testing it for precision delivery of large conventional warheads or critical supplies. It does not seem practical for these purposes to me. It has actually been drop-tested by the White Knight.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37

NASA dropped the program in 2004, but in my opinion this was a serious error. I guess the decision to go back 50 years in time for the next generation of spacecraft made it meaningless to be looking at anything advanced. One can only hope that a future generation of DOD administrators will declassify the data, and that a future generation of NASA engineers will once again get bored with capsules ("spam in a can" as they were once called) and use the data for a new generation of real spaceplanes.
 
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Woggles

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Re: Air Force X-37B spaceplane arrives in Florida for launch

Thanks EarthlingX

I did a search in all forms using the search function but couldn't find any other post. I used X-37B as my search criteria. Also X 37 and X-37.
 
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EarthlingX

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Re: Air Force X-37B spaceplane arrives in Florida for launch

Let's stay in SB&T or there will be a meteor shower ... :roll:
 
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trailrider

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"FYI Chuck Yeager was taken to altitude in the Bell XS-1 by either a B-29 or a B-50 (a souped up B-29). The B-52 drop ship was used for the X-15 and later the lifting body experiments."

It was a B-29 that was the mother ship for the Bell XS-1 (later, just X-1) piloted by Chuck Yeager. The B-50 was used later, maybe for the X-1A series and IIRC the X-2.

So far as the X-37B is concerned, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to substitute a cockpit up front for all the electronics (maybe putting the avionics in part of the cargo bay. As to the mission... who knows what lurks in the minds of the USAF? The Shadow knows! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!" :roll: In point of fact, satellites DO NOT take the place of a Strike Reconnasance craft. The U-2 and its derrivatives are limited in performance and range. The last "SR" was the Blackbird SR-71. Think of a vehicle that can be launched to almost anywhere from either Vandy or The Cape, and can either orbit or execute partial orbits, landing at a different base than just Edwards or the Cape. Then think of an sub-orbital/orbital Predator! :shock: Fifteen minute response to a target. Maybe it drops a payload or maybe it is the payload, capable of catching bad guys before they can scatter!

(Having said all that, I wonder how long it will be before there is a "knock on my door"? And NO! I don't know anything for certain. Just speculating... )
 
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MeteorWayne

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Re: Air Force X-37B spaceplane arrives in Florida for launch

Actually, this will probably be merged into the thread in Missions and Launches, since it does concern a specific event.
 
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edkyle99

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trailrider":34dxhfwo said:
So far as the X-37B is concerned, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to substitute a cockpit up front for all the electronics (maybe putting the avionics in part of the cargo bay. As to the mission... who knows what lurks in the minds of the USAF? The Shadow knows! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!" :roll: In point of fact, satellites DO NOT take the place of a Strike Reconnasance craft. The U-2 and its derrivatives are limited in performance and range. The last "SR" was the Blackbird SR-71. Think of a vehicle that can be launched to almost anywhere from either Vandy or The Cape, and can either orbit or execute partial orbits, landing at a different base than just Edwards or the Cape. Then think of an sub-orbital/orbital Predator! :shock: Fifteen minute response to a target. Maybe it drops a payload or maybe it is the payload, capable of catching bad guys before they can scatter!

(Having said all that, I wonder how long it will be before there is a "knock on my door"? And NO! I don't know anything for certain. Just speculating... )
I've long wondered about this project. It is a fairly adventurous, and surely costly, technology demonstration program, to say the least. There must be a reason for all of this effort. One obvious possibility is that cargo bay. Small as it is, it would seem to be able to accommodate some type of unknown "down mass". Only that capability separates it from other non-recoverable satellites.

Which begs the question. What are they planning to bring back down with this thing?

- Ed Kyle
 
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docm

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It's DoD. Use your imagination - a spy micro/mini-sat, whatever. Maybe a hedge for if DragonLab doesn't work for intercept/inspection missions.
 
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EarthlingX

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Re: Air Force X-37B spaceplane arrives in Florida for launch

MeteorWayne":2msedq6k said:
Actually, this will probably be merged into the thread in Missions and Launches, since it does concern a specific event.
I read that in the tea leaves, was just avoiding 'search' discussion and i'am still trying to, since it is rather pointless and off-topic.
 
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aaron38

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Re: X-37B

Gravity_Ray":27mn7nj6 said:
I respectfully disagree with you woody. First off we can and should keep the military out of space. They have no business there. Second, the only reason that the military 'appears' to outpace civilian tech, is because nobody questions the military spending un-godly amounts of money
I would love to see the Air Force take over the astronaut business. Why? Do you hear a bunch of whining and handwringing when a military chopper chrashes? When a fighter jet goes down? Does the Air Force stop flying for 3 years of bullshit paperwork and Congressional hearings? Or do they just fix it and fly again?

Space is inherantly risky. Let the military, which is much more risk and fault tollerant handle it. Because to put it bluntly, this country doesn't have the stomach for civilian space flight.
 
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aaron38

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Geoduck2":2qf1ar7c said:
Do we actually need people on board the Shuttle? I don't see why they couldn't be flown as unmanned heavy lift vehicles for as long as they can. Until the inherent design weaknesses in the Shuttle result in the loss of all of them. I favour getting every last dollar out of the airframes.
That's what the Shuttle derived heavy lift vehicle is for. What's the point of lifting 80mT of dead weight to put 20mT into orbit? Just launch a full 100mT of cargo and let one launch do the work of 5.
 
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scottb50

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That's what the Shuttle derived heavy lift vehicle is for. What's the point of lifting 80mT of dead weight to put 20mT into orbit? Just launch a full 100mT of cargo and let one launch do the work of 5.

Which has been my point, here, since day one. A TSTO vehicle with the first stage a fly-back, totally re-usable, heavy lifter with a Centaur class upper stage. On orbit the tanks would be used as building material, as well as staying propellant tanks, and the engines would be re-used on Orbital Tugs as well as long range or interplanetary vehicles.

Very simple and could use existing Shuttle facilities, equipment and hopefully personnel.
 
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cdr6

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So the question is how do they intend to launch the operational version?
 
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CalliArcale

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Re: X-37B

aaron38":po21t2v5 said:
I would love to see the Air Force take over the astronaut business. Why? Do you hear a bunch of whining and handwringing when a military chopper chrashes? When a fighter jet goes down? Does the Air Force stop flying for 3 years of ____ paperwork and Congressional hearings? Or do they just fix it and fly again?
Stuff gets grounded in the Air Force too. Remember the fatigue issues which grounded the entire F-15 fleet (a rather more serious act than grounding the three remaining Orbiters)? Mainly, though, the reason they start flying faster isn't that they have more guts than NASA. It's that their birds are cheaper, Congress tends not to regard their pilots as highly as they do astronauts (being that joining the military involves acceptance of possible death -- it is, after all, war we're talking about), and there are national security imperatives. That is, there is a perceived lower cost to a lost F-15 with pilot and a perceived higher cost to not flying. If the Shuttle doesn't fly, we lose science and cool factor. If F-15s don't fly, we may lose vital tactical air support for ongoing missions, meaning it jeopardizes men and women on the ground in war zones. So there is a reason for this difference.

The USAF was involved in manned spaceflight for awhile; they left because the bureaucrats felt it was too expensive for too little gain. So I wouldn't get too anxious for them to take over manned spaceflight. Last time they did that was in the early 70s, and they never picked it back up again (apart from occasional rides on the Shuttle).
 
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docm

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And besides that the USAF is having a huge identity crisis now that many aircraft missions are being assigned to drones.

Just read a Washington Post article on this where it was discussed that one drone pilot could fly several aircraft simultaneously, and that many missions are headed for being partly, if not mostly, drone-i-fied. This brings into question the whole notion of an independent Air Force. Not my words...read the article.

Washington Post article.....

The question, scrawled on a Pentagon whiteboard last fall, captured the strange and difficult moment facing the Air Force. "Why does the country need an independent Air Force?" the senior civilian assistant to Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the service's chief of staff, had written. For the first time in the 62-year history of the Air Force, the answer isn't entirely clear.
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4 pages later after discussing drone-i-fication....
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The next generation of unmanned planes is likely to demand even greater changes from the Air Force, Mathewson said. The craft will require new kinds of organizations, new types of bases and new kinds of officers who will never peer through a fighter-jet canopy in search of the enemy. Old notions of valor are likely to disappear.
>
 
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