Posts Tagged ‘x-37b’

The X-37

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

It’s up there right now.

Circling over your heads.

The X-37.

Besides the Shuttle, it’s the only operational spaceplane in existence. It was launched last month atop a USAF rocket from Vandenberg, and is scheduled to stay in orbit for….for…well, that’s classified.

Along with its mission.

And its specific capabilities.

But it’s got potential adversaries worried. And with good reason, because a spaceplane has what’s called cross-wing capability . . meaning it can reenter the atmosphere with considerable maneuverability, thereby bringing the military that much closer to its goal of global strike: being able to hit any target on Earth within hours. (That’s why the Space Shuttle made the Soviets so damn nervous back in the 1980s that they had to build their own.)

Furthermore, the X-37 has the potential to be a far more precise antisatellite weapon than the kinetic kill vehicle the Chinese launched back in January of 2007. Its fuel reserves are unknown, but the whole point of a craft like this is that it would have more orbital maneuverability than your average satellite. Nor do we know what weapons it might be able to pack into its cargo bay. All we know for sure is that, right now, Russia and China have nothing in their arsenal to touch it. Not yet anyway . . .

More on spaceplanes later this week. Meanwhile, why not pre-order the MACHINERY OF LIGHT, in which thousands of spaceplanes kick the shit out of each other.