The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

2011-02-14

After seven months in space, the U.S. Air Force's secretive X-37B unmanned space plane returned to Earth on Friday to wrap up a debut flight shrouded in secrecy.  The robotic X-37B space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to end its maiden voyage. The space plane, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 1, glided back to Earth over the Pacific Ocean before landing at the revamped Vandenberg runway at about 1:16 a.m. PT Dec. 3.  In all, the X-37B space plane spent more than 220 days in orbit.
Development of this plane started about 10 year ago.

Originally, NASA used the X-37B space plane as an experimental test bed until funding for the project ran out in 2004. The vehicle then passed to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and was ultimately turned over to the Air Force in 2006.

The X-37B space drone is robotic winged spacecraft that looks in many ways like a miniature space shuttle. It was built by Boeing's Phantom Works Division in Seal Beach, Calif., and can fly long, extended missions because of its solar array power system, which allows it to stay in orbit for up to 270 days, Air Force officials have said.

The X-37B is about 29 feet (9 meters) long and has a wingspan of just over 14 feet (4 meters) across. It stands just over 9.5 feet (3 meters) tall and weighs nearly 11,000 pounds (about 5,000 kg).

The X-37B launches like a rocket and glides back to Earth like NASA's space shuttles, but instead of a single tail fin at the rear, the X-37B has two stabilizers, called "ruddervators," sprouting up in a "V" shape.

Another advantage is that small size makes it more difficult to identify and control of made operations with optical devices.

Possible areas of application:

    Secretive launch of specialized spacecrafts
    Usage of expensive equipment which returns to Earth for further reusable applications
    Collection and deliver of data which increase capacity of radio channels
    Technical service of space platform
    Application as offensive platform as Global Strike concept
    Other special applications

According to official description - The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is a non-operational system that will demonstrate a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force. The objectives of the OTV program include space experimentation, risk reduction and a concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.
The Air Force has already ordered a second X-37B, the Orbital Test Vehicle 2, which is slated to launch on another test flight sometime in the spring of 2011.
But for now, Air Force officials said they were ecstatic to see the successful return of the first X-37B spacecraft.
What surprises is that Russia could take leadership in this area.

In 2004, promotion of Kliper have started. Due to the lack of funding it was emphasized to cooperate with other space agencies. At the same time ESA (European Space Agency) showed some interest to the Kliper, but asked for conceptual alterations for the needs, space craft should land like plane. In less than a year, with cooperation experimental design office Sukhoi and Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute winged version of Kliper was created. In addition, full scale model was made and works for equipment arrangement started. Project was introduced in Le Burge fair and created a furor. Later by inexplicable way in 2006 project was sent to Roskosmos for modification and then suspended due to termination of the tender.




The Terminators: drone strikes prompt MoD to ponder ethics of killer robots

2011-04-21
The Terminators: drone strikes prompt MoD to ponder ethics of killer robots
Analysis of unmanned aircraft in combat urges Britain to establish policy on 'acceptable machine behaviour'.
The growing use of unmanned aircraft in combat situations raises huge moral and legal issues, and threatens to make war more likely as armed robots take over from human beings, according to an internal study by the Ministry of Defence.

UAV market set to double

2011-03-31
UAV market set to double
While few would dispute that unmanned air systems have transformed military aviation during the past decade, it is looking increasingly certain that the coming 10 years will see huge change in unmanned air vehicles themselves. It would not be excessive to call the next couple of years a genuine watershed in the development of UAVs.

UCAS-D is on track with X-47B

2011-02-19
UCAS-D is on track with X-47B
February 4, 2011The Northrop Grumman-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft successfully completed its historic first flight at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Unblinking eye in the sky

2011-02-18
Unblinking eye in the sky
The next generation surveillance package for the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper drones, named for Medusa's stony glare, will provide an unprecedentedly broad view of the battlefield spanning time and space

Sikorskys Optionally Piloted Black Hawk

2011-02-18
Sikorskys Optionally Piloted Black Hawk
The crew, at the end of their duty time, switch the helicopter to unmanned mode and disembark. The Black Hawk searches for and connects to the nearest ground control station, accepts the preprogrammed mission and takes off to find and pick up its first load.

China Developing Armed/Recon UAVs

2011-02-18
China Developing Armed/Recon UAVs
China is ramping up production of unmanned aerial vehicles in an apparent bid to catch up with the U.S. and Israel in developing technology that is considered the future of military aviation.
Western defense officials and experts were surprised to see more than 25 different Chinese models of the unmanned aircraft

Cargo UAS services contract

2011-02-18
Cargo UAS services contract
On 3rd December 2010 the Navy announced the award of two fixed-price contracts to Boeing/Frontier Systems (A160T Hummingbird UAV ) and Lockheed Martin (K-Max UAV) for Cargo Unmanned Aircraft System services for $29.9 and $45.8 million respectively.

Fly like a helicopter and evacuate wounded soldiers in its hull from any terrain

2011-02-14
Fly like a helicopter and evacuate wounded soldiers in its hull from any terrain
The Israel Air Force and IDF Medical Corps are working to secure funding within the militarys upcoming multi-year plan for a revolutionary unmanned aerial vehicle that can fly like a helicopter and evacuate wounded soldiers in its hull from any terrain.

Beneath Antarctica  robot submarine to be the first to learn a secret

2011-02-14
Beneath Antarctica robot submarine to be the first to learn a secret
Missions destination - the Ross Ice Shelf, which juts out from Western Antarctica. Scientists expect a never-before-seen view of melting and other conditions in the pocket of ocean below the ice shelf, where the warming seawater is eating away at the ice.

Global Observer unmanned aircraft system successfully completed its first flight

2011-01-22
Global Observer unmanned aircraft system successfully completed its first flight
The Global Observer unmanned aircraft system successfully completed its first flight powered by the aircraft's hydrogen-fueled propulsion system at Edwards AFB CA (SPX) on Jan. 6.


Pages: Prev. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Back to the list