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(Fox News)   America's X37-B space shuttle drone has spent 400 days is space doing...something very classified. And yes - America has a space shuttle drone   (foxnews.com) divider line 86
    More: Spiffy, x-37b, U.S. Air Force, orbits, unmanned spacecraft, space planes, reusable spacecraft, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station  
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6014 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Feb 2014 at 11:30 AM (29 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-04 10:23:09 AM
Well something has to service the mind control satellites
 
2014-02-04 10:39:50 AM
Well, we do need a way to blow up terrorist in SPAAAAACEEEE
 
2014-02-04 10:45:20 AM
memes.onlinememegenerator.com
 
2014-02-04 10:51:51 AM
NRO.
 
2014-02-04 11:14:32 AM
Of course we have space shuttle drones. Someone has to service the space-based missile satellites.

Plus, if they're willing to admit the existence of a space shuttle drone, what's the cutting edge of their technology? The general rule is the classified stuff is what, 10 years ahead of civilian capabilities?
 
2014-02-04 11:35:35 AM

qorkfiend: Of course we have space shuttle drones. Someone has to service the space-based missile satellites.

Plus, if they're willing to admit the existence of a space shuttle drone, what's the cutting edge of their technology? The general rule is the classified stuff is what, 10 years ahead of civilian capabilities?


Its kinda hard to hide an orbital launch and what's onboard. Mostly because cameras from the ground can see it pretty well. Disclosing capabilities, that's another story.
 
2014-02-04 11:38:40 AM
My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.
 
2014-02-04 11:42:52 AM

BZWingZero: qorkfiend: Of course we have space shuttle drones. Someone has to service the space-based missile satellites.

Plus, if they're willing to admit the existence of a space shuttle drone, what's the cutting edge of their technology? The general rule is the classified stuff is what, 10 years ahead of civilian capabilities?

Its kinda hard to hide an orbital launch and what's onboard. Mostly because cameras from the ground can see it pretty well. Disclosing capabilities, that's another story.


Yeah, I thought of that after posting. I suppose they could do something crazy like launch it from out at sea or disguise it as a non-manned launch.
 
2014-02-04 11:43:59 AM

cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.


It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.
 
2014-02-04 11:46:28 AM

Slaves2Darkness: cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.

It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.


Rail gun. From space. Reduced friction would make it way more effective. Plus gravity would do some of the work for you.
 
2014-02-04 11:50:12 AM
And yes - America has a space shuttle drone

Subby's right on the cutting edge. Fark's had what? 2 dozen threads on this thing so far?
 
2014-02-04 11:50:17 AM
BZWingZero:Plus, if they're willing to admit the existence of a space shuttle drone, what's the cutting edge of their technology? The general rule is the classified stuff is what, 10 years ahead of civilian capabilities?

Its kinda hard to hide an orbital launch and what's onboard. Mostly because cameras from the ground can see it pretty well. Disclosing capabilities, that's another story.


Orbital launches are announced since they're pretty much identical to an ICBM launch. WWIII has nearly occurred on several occasions because countries didn't identify launches. Nobody wants to receive a surprise nuke. And you're strapping it to a gigantic firework, you couldn't hide it if you wanted to.
 
2014-02-04 11:51:04 AM

INeedAName: Slaves2Darkness: cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.

It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.

Rail gun. From space. Reduced friction would make it way more effective. Plus gravity would do some of the work for you.


I would call it Operation Crossbow
 
2014-02-04 11:52:57 AM

cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.


Or even an operational surveillance system that allows for more flexibility than traditional recon satellites. While you can leave it up there for a long time, you can also bring it back down, re-equip it for another type of mission (or just refuel the drone if you had to shift orbit a lot), and send it back up.

I'm not sure it would be worth putting weapons on it- it couldn't carry much of a payload. You'd get a few good shots in, but then you're back to parity with the other guys and it becomes a slugging match of the traditional nuclear triad (bombers, land based missiles, missile subs) anyway.
 
2014-02-04 12:04:56 PM

INeedAName: Slaves2Darkness: cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.

It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.

Rail gun. From space. Reduced friction would make it way more effective. Plus gravity would do some of the work for you.


given that the recoil on railguns is pretty freaking tremendous, i don't think it'd be a very efficient design choice(the launching platform would go whipping off into the distance from the recoil impulse). granted that hasn't stopped the pentagon before... but still.

and if you want ground attack, just have a big lump of nickle iron with a heat shield and a small guidance and retro-rocket package. thousand pound dart would produce an explosion in the kiloton range(which is what stalled out the 'conventional trident' system, many countries pointed out that the impact and its effects would look a lot like a small nuke had gone off...)
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-04 12:05:29 PM
qorkfiend:

Plus, if they're willing to admit the existence of a space shuttle drone, what's the cutting edge of their technology? The general rule is the classified stuff is what, 10 years ahead of civilian capabilities?

This one started out as a civilian program or you probably wouldn't know about it.
 
2014-02-04 12:07:11 PM
Of course we have a space drone, how else are we supposed to get our laser popped popcorn.
 
2014-02-04 12:08:24 PM

buttery_shame_cave: (which is what stalled out the 'conventional trident' system, many countries pointed out that the impact and its effects would look a lot like a small nuke had gone off...)


Well, that and it would be indistinguishable from a nuclear missile launch until the thing actually landed.

Other nations, particularly those with nuclear weapons on intercontinental launchers, tend to be a little touchy about us saying "Yeah, this thing that's always been a nuke platform and in some cases still IS a nuclear platform... we launched one, but it's totally not a nuke. It's going someplace close to you and will look somewhat like a small nuke when it hits, but it definitely isn't aimed at you and isn't a real nuke. Sure, you'll only have a couple minutes if you realize we're lying, but we're good. Trust us."

The program has a good capability, but the human side of the equation just makes it unfeasible.
 
2014-02-04 12:12:03 PM
I'm pretty sure they are using this to map all of the satellites currently in orbit and perhaps help draw up (theoretical) plans for carrying out an attack against foreign government's satellites. Gotta know their orbit to hit 'em.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-02-04 12:17:10 PM
If you were going to deploy a space based weapon this would be the way to do it.  There was something called FOBS that that this would be perfect for.

It was prohibited under SALT II, but this would be a way to develop the capability without actually producing a weapon.  It wouldn't even have to be a nuclear weapon.

Not saying that that's the plan, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was exploring technologies related to that.
 
2014-02-04 12:20:25 PM

akula: buttery_shame_cave: (which is what stalled out the 'conventional trident' system, many countries pointed out that the impact and its effects would look a lot like a small nuke had gone off...)

Well, that and it would be indistinguishable from a nuclear missile launch until the thing actually landed.

Other nations, particularly those with nuclear weapons on intercontinental launchers, tend to be a little touchy about us saying "Yeah, this thing that's always been a nuke platform and in some cases still IS a nuclear platform... we launched one, but it's totally not a nuke. It's going someplace close to you and will look somewhat like a small nuke when it hits, but it definitely isn't aimed at you and isn't a real nuke. Sure, you'll only have a couple minutes if you realize we're lying, but we're good. Trust us."

The program has a good capability, but the human side of the equation just makes it unfeasible.


a real shame too, because the total cycle time(launch to impact) is low. you could have some pretty overwhelming firepower on a very short call.

granted the 'danger close' radius is freaking HUGE. definitely want to be behind something solid when one of those babies hits.

i forget if there were any restrictions on pre-placing those things in orbit. i thought they got around the treaties as they are non-nuclear? or was it simply weaponizing space period?
 
2014-02-04 12:22:24 PM

buttery_shame_cave: akula: buttery_shame_cave: (which is what stalled out the 'conventional trident' system, many countries pointed out that the impact and its effects would look a lot like a small nuke had gone off...)

Well, that and it would be indistinguishable from a nuclear missile launch until the thing actually landed.

Other nations, particularly those with nuclear weapons on intercontinental launchers, tend to be a little touchy about us saying "Yeah, this thing that's always been a nuke platform and in some cases still IS a nuclear platform... we launched one, but it's totally not a nuke. It's going someplace close to you and will look somewhat like a small nuke when it hits, but it definitely isn't aimed at you and isn't a real nuke. Sure, you'll only have a couple minutes if you realize we're lying, but we're good. Trust us."

The program has a good capability, but the human side of the equation just makes it unfeasible.

a real shame too, because the total cycle time(launch to impact) is low. you could have some pretty overwhelming firepower on a very short call.

granted the 'danger close' radius is freaking HUGE. definitely want to be behind something solid when one of those babies hits.

i forget if there were any restrictions on pre-placing those things in orbit. i thought they got around the treaties as they are non-nuclear? or was it simply weaponizing space period?


I think the Raytheon EKV DID make it to orbit and probably a few of those farkers are still flying aorund.
 
2014-02-04 12:22:46 PM
 
2014-02-04 12:34:44 PM

bootmoop: I'm pretty sure they are using this to map all of the satellites currently in orbit and perhaps help draw up (theoretical) plans for carrying out an attack against foreign government's satellites. Gotta know their orbit to hit 'em.


I'd think we could do that with ground based radar. Satellites aren't hard at all to pick up, orbital launches even easier, and orbital mechanics, while complex, are well understood.
 
2014-02-04 12:40:02 PM
Want the really boring option?

Materials testing. Hard vaccum, exposure to this and that, and time. If you're going to build Space Pentagon you're going to need to know if your selected material can endure.
 
2014-02-04 12:42:02 PM
Stop posting about this on Fark. Next thing you know, some Russian or Chinese guy is going to read this, and the secret will be out. Loose lips sink ships.
 
2014-02-04 12:50:13 PM

INeedAName: Slaves2Darkness: cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.

It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.

Rail gun. From space. Reduced friction would make it way more effective. Plus gravity would do some of the work for you.


Of course, you have to deal with the magnets moving backwards to the slug at the same time the slug is moving forward to the magnets. Missiles might be a better way to go just cause they propel themselves.
 
2014-02-04 12:50:15 PM
Just wait until subby finds out that the CIA - yes, the CIA - has a space shuttle. Considering they're an intelligence agency that uses satellite imagery all the time we assume, neither should be all that surprising.
 
2014-02-04 12:57:59 PM

OnlyM3: And yes - America has a space shuttle drone
Subby's right on the cutting edge. Fark's had what? 2 dozen threads on this thing so far?


Is that all? I've been aware of this thing since its first launch in 2010. We don't know what it does, but we know where it's at.
The more interesting thing about this is that the X-37B was originally designed to stay in orbit for up to 270 days and it has a ways to go before it even breaks it's own record of 469 days.
 
2014-02-04 01:01:22 PM
qorkfiend:  I suppose they could do something crazy like launch it from out at sea or disguise it as a non-manned launch.

So...disguise it as what it actually is? That just might work!!
...but probably not.
 
2014-02-04 01:05:33 PM
WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! It's Obamas weather control machine!!! How else can you explain the "polar vortex"?
 
2014-02-04 01:06:54 PM
They successfully fought off a Goa'uld invasion, but the shuttle was damaged in the process and can't return.  And do those damned Asgard ever call back when we need something?  Nope.  i hope they blow themselves up.
 
2014-02-04 01:14:01 PM

INeedAName: Slaves2Darkness: cgraves67: My best guess is that it is a test mule for prototype surveillance satellite parts.
It is a test bed for anti-satellite capabilities. Lasers have proven ineffective for this role and the Chinese have developed an anti-sat missile that has proven capable of interception and destruction.
Rail gun. From space. Reduced friction would make it way more effective. Plus gravity would do some of the work for you.

I would go for Rods From God.  Something containing an iridium/tungsten alloy.

Nefarious: Well something has to service the mind control satellites

That's what was on the old Soviet space station Mir.  Well, the astronauts they sent up there were actually trained psychics with enhanced mental abilities thanks to the combined chemical/genetic modification program they underwent while in the military.  Mir had to be taken down since someone at NASA--one of the astronauts who died in the Columbia disaster--blabbed about it.  The rest of the people on Columbia were acceptable losses.
 
2014-02-04 01:19:36 PM
projectcamelot.info

Well, according to John Lear, the US has a full goddamn space fleet in orbit around Jupiter. Complete with Aliens and the whole nine-farking-yards.
 
2014-02-04 01:24:24 PM

Nefarious: Well something has to service the mind control satellites


<Installing SkyNetOS.exe>...
 
2014-02-04 01:44:03 PM
It would also be a good way to grab satellites that are enemy owned, or satellites that you don't want to de-orbit and take the chance that it wouldn't burn up completely and/or land someplace
that it could be examined. It could also deploy things and then have them go to an orbit that works best to view what you need. Not to mention that it could also be keeping an eye on other
orbiting things that other countries are using..They might be listening to them, or imaging them to know when they are working and where that might be over the planet, triangulating where
they view, and where they send the data to after they view it.
 
2014-02-04 01:45:36 PM

buttery_shame_cave: i forget if there were any restrictions on pre-placing those things in orbit. i thought they got around the treaties as they are non-nuclear? or was it simply weaponizing space period?


Well, a Trident (and every other ICBM) isn't designed to achieve a stable parking orbit. Not to say with certainty that it can't (though if it could with a warhead, it'd violate some treaties), but it takes more energy to get to a circular orbit that's high enough to have minimal atmospheric drag and then de-orbit to hit a target than to do the sub-orbital trickery that a multiple-warhead ICBM is designed for.

There's also the matter of coverage, as unless you were consistently going to drop the warheads on equatorial targets, you are going to need an incredible number of warheads in different orbits if the goal is to be able to hit any given target faster than an ICBM could. If you didn't already have a warhead on an orbit that's taking it towards the target, an ICBM will beat an orbital weapon to the ground. They're faaaast.
 
2014-02-04 01:57:47 PM
X-37B Space Modulator?

Isn't there supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom?
 
2014-02-04 02:01:02 PM
Of course we do.
Why would we not?


/in our defense, it's pretty awesome and we are allowed to be awesome.
 
2014-02-04 02:07:19 PM
I'd worry if they looked like this:
www.wired.com
 
2014-02-04 02:14:53 PM

"Cold"? No, my friend - "Absolute Zero War" is the new hotness!

Oh, boy! Why have nuclear warheads on the ground when you can deliver nuclear or biological agents from LEO, by remote control? Or steal enemy vehicles & satellites and return with them? Heck, why not just spray "flying crowbars" in sync orbit and take out "terrorists" on the cheap?
 
2014-02-04 02:23:40 PM
img.fark.net
Air Force officials have long insisted that the spacecraft is simply testing out technologies for future satellites.
 
2014-02-04 02:33:29 PM

akula: bootmoop: I'm pretty sure they are using this to map all of the satellites currently in orbit and perhaps help draw up (theoretical) plans for carrying out an attack against foreign government's satellites. Gotta know their orbit to hit 'em.

I'd think we could do that with ground based radar. Satellites aren't hard at all to pick up, orbital launches even easier, and orbital mechanics, while complex, are well understood.


Im not sure about that. Spy satellites are designed to be minimally detected and are often thrown up behind debris but those xband systems are pretty awesome so who knows.
 
2014-02-04 02:40:17 PM

treesloth: They successfully fought off a Goa'uld invasion, but the shuttle was damaged in the process and can't return.  And do those damned Asgard ever call back when we need something?  Nope.  i hope they blow themselves up.


Indeed...
 
2014-02-04 02:52:42 PM
www.badmovies.org

My guess is that it won't land until, oh say, the 25th Century.
 
2014-02-04 02:58:19 PM

costermonger: buttery_shame_cave: i forget if there were any restrictions on pre-placing those things in orbit. i thought they got around the treaties as they are non-nuclear? or was it simply weaponizing space period?

Well, a Trident (and every other ICBM) isn't designed to achieve a stable parking orbit. Not to say with certainty that it can't (though if it could with a warhead, it'd violate some treaties), but it takes more energy to get to a circular orbit that's high enough to have minimal atmospheric drag and then de-orbit to hit a target than to do the sub-orbital trickery that a multiple-warhead ICBM is designed for.

There's also the matter of coverage, as unless you were consistently going to drop the warheads on equatorial targets, you are going to need an incredible number of warheads in different orbits if the goal is to be able to hit any given target faster than an ICBM could. If you didn't already have a warhead on an orbit that's taking it towards the target, an ICBM will beat an orbital weapon to the ground. They're faaaast.


polar orbit would handle the coverage problem. just have a bunch of them, and they'd have pretty good nigh-total coverage. while the drop-time wouldn't be as good, it'd make a decent strategic counterpoint to the conventional-ICBM tactical option.
 
2014-02-04 03:11:53 PM

buttery_shame_cave: polar orbit would handle the coverage problem. just have a bunch of them, and they'd have pretty good nigh-total coverage. while the drop-time wouldn't be as good, it'd make a decent strategic counterpoint to the conventional-ICBM tactical option.


The soviets built a system to do just that from a polar orbit (in the goal of defeating the NORAD system by approaching from the south). It's technically feasible, it just doesn't add any capability that existing ICBMs don't already have aside from not allowing the target to be calculated from nearly the moment of launch.

And you can't do it with nukes because treaties.
 
2014-02-04 03:23:15 PM

StrikitRich: [www.badmovies.org image 600x450]

My guess is that it won't land until, oh say, the 25th Century.


Worth the wait:

img.gawkerassets.com
 
2014-02-04 03:28:34 PM
www.blogcdn.com

Oh, NOW we talk about this.
 
2014-02-04 03:32:19 PM

StrikitRich: [www.badmovies.org image 600x450]

My guess is that it won't land until, oh say, the 25th Century.


We need a reboot of that with the cheesy 70's disco, princesses in bikinis, and Nathan Fillion as Buck Rogers. Sure you would have to get him to a personal trainer for a few months, because man he has gotten fat, but it would worth it.
 
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