Roles of U.S. Air Force secret space plane
Washington, May 22 (ANI): The speculations over the true mission of the US Air Force X-37B secret space plane may finally come to rest - the Secure World Foundation (SWF) has made available a X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Fact Sheet that details the reusable vehicle's likely uses.
The informative fact sheet also explains the advantages and disadvantages of theoretical duties of the mini-space plane, gauging them in high, medium and low feasibility.
Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor of Secure World Foundation, is the main author of this revealing fact sheet.
Weeden said: "The intent behind this fact sheet was to look at the technical feasibility of some of the proposed missions for the X-37B.
"There has been a lot of speculation about what this vehicle could do and what sort of capabilities it could provide to the U.S. military, and some of that speculation was based on more science fiction than fact.
"While a successful completion of the X-37B flight, landing, and turn-around will certainly be a significant step forward in reusable space vehicle technology, it is a long ways away from a single-stage-to-orbit capability."
Weeden said after looking at all the proposed missions for the X-37B, he concluded the most likely is that it will be used as a flexible, responsive spacecraft to collect intelligence from space and as a platform to flight test new sensors and satellite hardware.
He added: "One of the downsides to using satellites for collecting intelligence is that once they are launched they have a fixed set of sensors and capabilities.
"The X-37B brings to space the capability to customize the on-board sensor package for a specific mission, similar to what can be done with U.S. reconnaissance aircraft such as the U-2 and SR-71. In many ways, this gives the X-37B the best of both worlds."
The four-page, fact-filled X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Fact Sheet is now available on Secure World Foundation's website. (ANI)