A Secret Government Spaceship is Circling the Earth
The US government recently launched a secret space plane called the X-37B. You’ve probably never heard about it and that’s because nobody is really talking about it.
We do know that the X-37B was launched on April 22, 2010. It was originally a NASA project in 1999, but was transferred to the department of defense in 2004. It looks very similar the space shuttle, but it’s unmanned and about a quarter of the size. It also operates very similar to the space shuttle, it is launched by powerful rockets and it lands like an airplane. It has a small cargo bay, about the size of a pickup truck bed.
For safety and security, a little over 14000 space objects are cataloged and tracked. The objects include satellites, debris and rocket bodies. Tracking these objects reduces the chance of a collision between them. In fact, there are a few public websites that let you view this information, some will even plot satellites on a map so you can try to spot them when they’re over your area. The location and orbit of the X-37B spacecraft has not been announced by the government.
However, a group of amateur astronomers and sky watchers believe they have enough sightings to identify the craft and it’s orbit. The space plane has been tough to spot since it seems to be operating in a low orbit, similar to the height of military spy satellites. There are a lot of satellites in the sky, 75 military satellites plus 15 search and rescue; 37 gps and 19 Navy navigation satellites. Then, there are thousands of other satellites for communications, science and entertainment uses.
China and Iran are both on edge about what this space plane is capable of. According to China, it may signal the start of a space arms race.
Experts believe the X-37B is just another spy plane, except it can stay in the air for 270 days before returning for fuel. The sky watchers who are tracking the space plane have seen it over Iraq and Afghanistan and believe it is currently testing surveillance equipment. Because it can return to earth and be redeployed very quickly, it’s likely that it will serve a number of different roles as needed.
As for the name, it’s just a test plane series number. For example, the X-24A was the model of the plane used in 1963 to test the re-entry heat-shields that would end up on the bottom of modern day space shuttles.
When the X-37B does return to earth, it will land on a runway in California. If it veers too far off course, it will self destruct. Seriously.
Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton