Monday, September 28, 2015

Patching up X-37B

Patching up X-37B: The fourth flight of the mysterious X-37B robot spaceplane is still hard to decipher. For the first time, the US Air Force did not release any photographs of the spaceplane before launch. This has caused this analyst (and other boffins) to speculate that something strange is being deliberately concealed from us.

In previous articles for SpaceDaily, this analyst suggested that the X-37B that's now in orbit has been radically modified. It could have a different heatshield. It could have additional instruments bolted to its exterior. It could have been modified so greatly that it's no longer appropriate to call it an X-37B!

We have plenty of questions but few answers. It also seems to be difficult to get the answers we seek. The USAF is keeping silent on these matters. There are no statements or leaks through other channels.

Amateur satellite trackers are watching X-37B in orbit, but they have not produced any information that would help us to know what has changed with the vehicle. It's in a lower orbit than previous missions, but that doesn't tell us much.

This could have been done to expose the NASA materials samples on board to a tougher environment, where they will have better contact with the upper atmosphere.