Monday, May 16, 2016

Year of mystery swirls around latest X-37B mission

The semi-classified X-37B robot spaceplane hasn't received much attention, despite the fact that it is on its fourth flight in space. At least, that's the official story. Launched in May 2015, the latest mission seems even more covert than the three previous launches. Absolutely no images of the spaceplane were released before launch. That's a big change from the past, when we saw high-resolution images of the vehicle before launch and after landing.
Nobody knows when X-37B is coming home. It's even possible that the US Air Force, which owns the small vehicle, has not set a firm date. But we can consider what will happen when it does. This analyst will speculate that no images or video of X-37B will be released after its landing. Again, that would be a departure from previous trends, but consistent with the "no photography" policy of this flight.Why is X-37B so camera-shy this time around? The reason could be that the spacecraft currently in orbit isn't the same type of X-37B that we already know, or is an entirely different vehicle. This has been the subject of previous articles by this analyst in SpaceDaily.But what could it be?