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Thread: X-37B Countdown and Launch

  1. #61
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    Space.com: Air Force's Mystery X-37B Space Plane Fuels Speculation

    If the glass is half-full, Johnson-Freese observed that the X-37B could be to spaceflight what Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites – which had no specific mission originally when developed by the military either -- has become to navigation. "It could push the hypersonic envelope and advance spaceflight in ways not seen since the 1960's, she said.

    If the glass is half-empty, Johnson-Freese added, then the X-37B could be a project taken this far because the Air Force has always wanted a crewed space plane, and this was the closest they could get, and supporting it as innovative has helped the careers of those who have apparently pushed it through the halls of the Pentagon.
    ===

    Links:
    NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center: X-37 News (currently, very old news, frozen in 2004)
    Wikipedia: Boeing X-37
    Wikipedia: X-37B OTV-1
    National Weather Service, Southeast Sector, Base Reflectivity
    National Weather Service, Melbourne Florida, Hourly Weather Forecast Graph
    Space.com: Air Force's Secretive Space Plane Nears Maiden Voyage
    BAUT Forum topic Look familar? (some recent discussion)
    United Launch Alliance (ULA) (information, image gallery, webcast)
    United Launch Alliance: Webcast
    Twitter: ulalaunch
    Last edited by 01101001; 2010-Apr-22 at 03:31 AM.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigboy View Post
    Popular Science has an interesting article about why.
    Read it. Not convinced.

  3. #63
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    So, it's a Dale Brown issue...?
    Last edited by mugaliens; 2010-Apr-14 at 03:41 AM.

  4. #64
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    there is an effort underway to man-rate the atlas v. it would be interesting to see if the flight profile for the upcoming launch matches that of one compatible with a manned launch or if it is a traditional high-efficiency profile. obviously the vehicle in all the press shots isn't manned, but who's to say future versions won't be. also, you can bet good money that there are more then one of these things out there right now.

  5. 2010-Apr-13, 09:51 AM
    Reason
    duplicate

  6. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by guy incognito View Post
    there is an effort underway to man-rate the atlas v. it would be interesting to see if the flight profile for the upcoming launch matches that of one compatible with a manned launch or if it is a traditional high-efficiency profile. obviously the vehicle in all the press shots isn't manned, but who's to say future versions won't be. also, you can bet good money that there are more then one of these things out there right now.
    Hmm... Interesting. I'm still putting my money on 6g capsules. It's only for a few minutes, you're laying down, not sitting up, and it's much more efficient in terms of propellant used to get to orbit.

    Then again, a capsule is not a "manned spaceplane" as envisioned by the Air Force (or by Dale Brown)...

  7. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by guy incognito View Post
    there is an effort underway to man-rate the atlas v. it would be interesting to see if the flight profile for the upcoming launch matches that of one compatible with a manned launch or if it is a traditional high-efficiency profile. obviously the vehicle in all the press shots isn't manned, but who's to say future versions won't be. also, you can bet good money that there are more then one of these things out there right now.
    No, it is a standard trajectory. ULA is not going to use a USAF mission to prove a NASA or corporate desirement (nor would the USAF let them) . No, there isn't more than one. it is an unmanned test vehicle. It is not a prototype. X-planes are not prototypes. X-planes do not become operational vehicles. They prove technology for other designs.

  8. #67
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    About 6-1/2 days to launch

    Spaceflight Now launch schedule

    3-1/2-hour launch window opens:
    2010, April 21, 1546 PDT, Wednesday
    2010, April 21, 1846 EDT, Wednesday
    2010, April 21, 2246 UTC, Wednesday

    About 6-1/2 days to launch
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  9. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    No, it is a standard trajectory. ULA is not going to use a USAF mission to prove a NASA or corporate desirement (nor would the USAF let them) . No, there isn't more than one. it is an unmanned test vehicle. It is not a prototype. X-planes are not prototypes. X-planes do not become operational vehicles. They prove technology for other designs.
    X-planes may be the basis for operational vehicles; see the F-35 history. This doesn't mean that I think that the X-37 is likely to be; the USAF occasionally gets to spend taxpayer money for projects that are never intended to be the basis for an operational system. The DoD is also not immune to projects that fail. I know; I've worked in the biz.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  10. #69
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    The x designation was wrongly used for the JSF, it should have been the YF-35 or YF-32. Many in the business complained about this.

  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    The x designation was wrongly used for the JSF, it should have been the YF-35 or YF-32. Many in the business complained about this.
    Both 35 and 32 were way outside the proper sequence; they probably should have been YF-24 and YF-25. DoD wrote the designation scheme; it gets to break it whenever it likes. See, for example, the F-117, which is apparently numbered in the system that was discontinued in 1962.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  12. #71
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    About 3 days to launch

    Spaceflight Now launch schedule (Atlas 5 • OTV)

    9-minute launch window opens:
    2010, April 22, 1652 PDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 1952 EDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 2352 UTC, Thursday

    About 2 days, 20 hours to launch
    Last edited by 01101001; 2010-Apr-20 at 05:51 AM.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  13. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    Spaceflight Now launch schedule (Atlas 5 • OTV)

    Launch window opens:
    2010, April 22, 1652 PDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 1952 EDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 2352 UTC, Thursday

    About 2 days, 20 hours to launch
    Just wish I could see it! But that's not your fault, that's on the Air Force for being so secretive.

    A lot of people are now speculating this is some sort of military mission since the Air Force is being so secretive about it.

  14. #73
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    Seeing that it's a vehicle and mission operated by the Air Force, I think it's clear it's a military mission! No speculation about it.

    CJSF
    "Flipping this one final switch I'm effectively ensuring that I will be
    Overcoming all resistance long after my remains have been
    Vaporized with extreme prejudice and shot into outer space.

    I'll be haunting you."

    -They Might Be Giants, "I'll Be Haunting You"


    lonelybirder.org

  15. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parallax M86 View Post
    Just wish I could see it! But that's not your fault, that's on the Air Force for being so secretive.
    .
    There will be no external indication of the payload other than the logo. SO, it won't be different than any other launch.

  16. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    There will be no external indication of the payload other than the logo. SO, it won't be different than any other launch.
    So we just have to take their word for it that it really is the X-37B in there...

  17. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    So we just have to take their word for it that it really is the X-37B in there...
    Searches frantically for the "dislike" button.
    What does God need with a starship?

  18. #77
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    There are several military capabilities possible with a fully operational X-37 described here and in the contained links:

    Military Spaceplane
    X-40 Space Maneuver Vehicle
    Integrated Tech Testbed.
    http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/launch/msp.htm


    Bob Clark

  19. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sardonicone View Post
    Searches frantically for the "dislike" button.
    Hey it seemed funny at the time...

  20. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    There will be no external indication of the payload other than the logo. SO, it won't be different than any other launch.
    I hope somebody films the landing so we can see it someday. Maybe.

    This is the only evidence I could find it's actually on top of the Atlas V. Here it is being put into the fairing:
    http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/...Credit%3A+USAF
    Last edited by Parallax M86; 2010-Apr-21 at 01:15 PM.

  21. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Hey it seemed funny at the time...

    No, you misunderstand. I'm disliking the fact we won't get to see the launch. Your sense of humor was not being called into question.

    This time.
    What does God need with a starship?

  22. #81
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    You know what I think I know what the payload is. A human corpse. What else?

  23. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigboy View Post
    You know what I think I know what the payload is. A human corpse. What else?
    No, you start with a chimpanzee coprse, then work up to humans when you know it's safe.

  24. #83
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    Has any body commented on the fact this is almost exactly the same mass as the X-20 Dynasaur proposal (both ~5 tonnes), even though the configuration is completely different.

  25. #84
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    24 hours to launch

    Spaceflight Now launch schedule (Atlas 5 • OTV)

    9-minute launch window opens:
    2010, April 22, 1652 PDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 1952 EDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 2352 UTC, Thursday

    1 day to launch
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  26. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike alexander View Post
    No, you start with a chimpanzee coprse, then work up to humans when you know it's safe.
    :surprised

  27. #86
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    Patrick AF Base: Atlas V X-37B OTV Cape launch set for April 22

    4/21/2010 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla -- The 45th Space Wing is set to launch an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41 on April 22, 2010. The rocket will carry the Air Force's first X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV). The launch window for this mission is 7:51-8:02 p.m.
    [...]
    Notes:
    [...][Notes 3 and 4 missing]
    5. Webcast: The launch can be viewed via Webcast at: http://www.ulalaunch.com
    United Launch Alliance (ULA) (information, image gallery, webcast)
    United Launch Alliance: Webcast
    Twitter: ulalaunch

    11-minute launch window opens:
    2010, April 22, 1651 PDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 1951 EDT, Thursday
    2010, April 22, 2351 UTC, Thursday
    Last edited by 01101001; 2010-Apr-22 at 05:31 AM.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  28. #87
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    Discover: 80Beats Blog: Air Force to Launch Secret Space Plane Tomorrow–But Don’t Ask What It’s For

    When it comes to keeping secrets, the U.S. Air Force knows how to stay mum. On Thursday, the Air Force will launch its secret space plane, the unmanned X-37B aircraft, from Cape Canaveral. The project has been a decade in the works and cost millions of dollars to develop–but we civilians have little idea what it’s for.
    Aviation Week: Orbital Test Vehicle: Reusable Spacecraft Ops

    “Technologies to be tested include advanced guidance, navigation and control; thermal protection systems; avionics; high-temperature structures and seals; conformal reusable insulation; and lightweight electromechanical flight systems,” says the Air Force. “The X-37B will also demonstrate autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing. The platform will be used for long-duration space technology experimentation and testing,” it adds.

    Follow-on flights, set for an unspecified time frame, will begin to focus more on testing of spacecraft technology and deployable payloads that the OTV will carry in its cargo bay. In its original NASA guise, the bay measured 7 X 4 ft., though it is not known if the Boeing Phantom Works-built vehicle has been significantly modified in this regard since moving into the defense realm.
    The Register: US X-37B robot minishuttle: 'Secret space warplane'? No, but it could do some naughty orbital stuff

    (Yeah, getting out there...)

    Retrieval capability alone might justify the Air Force continuing with X-37B and possible larger successors, depending what the secret running costs of the "black" space programme actually are. However the design of the robot spaceplane, coupled with the talk of improved heat shielding, suggests that sneaky, low profile cross-range re-entries may also be a card the US military yet aspires to have up its sleeve.

    If you want to get out into the wilder speculative realms you could postulate a mission lifting off to retrieve, not a US satellite, but someone else's.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  29. #88
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    If you want to get out into the wilder speculative realms you could postulate a mission lifting off to retrieve, not a US satellite, but someone else's.
    I can already imagine such a mission's name: Justified Orbital Interception of Naughty Killjoys, or "JOINK" in short.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  30. #89
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    Less than 30 minutes to launch window opening.

    Spaceflight now mission status center:

    2216 GMT (6:16 p.m. EDT)
    Upper stage liquid oxygen has reached flight level.
    2214 GMT (6:14 p.m. EDT)
    The ground electrical console is reporting an issue that the anomaly team is discussing.
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  31. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    X-37B Countdown and Launch [6 August 2008]
    It's been a long countdown.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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