Astrophysicist on Top Secret US Air Force Craft Used for ‘Testing Hardware’ in Space
Article by Douglas Charles March 23, 2020 (brobible.com)
• In a YouTube video (see below), astrophysicist Scott Manley discusses the US Air Force’s use of a secret craft known as the X-37B. The USAF has deployed the small, reusable robotic space plane over the past ten years in classified payload missions in low Earth orbit.
• Manley, who holds a Masters in computation physics, recounted the X-37B’s history as a NASA project that saw its first flight in 2005. A ‘White Knight’ carrier aircraft would carry the X-37B to its launch altitude and release it. After several tests, it made a successful drop and flight in 2006 where “the thing flew beautifully”. Under autonomous control, the craft landed perfectly in the center of the runway, but ran off the end sustaining minor damage. But NASA repaired it and conducted further flawless test flights.
• It was then that the US Air Force took notice and built an X-37B of it own under a classified DoD project. Being an autonomous craft, “There is no cockpit, or windows, or anything like that for people inside, but there is a payload bay door that is a couple of meters long,” says Manley.
• Manley says that “there have been five flights with this vehicle” so far. There are actually two separate X-37B vehicles having “subtle differences in their hardware.” The X-37B has a large engine in the rear with control thrusters at the front and rear, neatly integrated onto the surface of the craft. The original NASA design called for a pair of engines using hydrogen peroxide and a kerosene-based jet propellant. The Air Force version uses more volatile propellants.
• Manley believes that the US Air Force “…is testing hardware for future satellites.” “They can test the electronics, sensors, propulsion, thermal control systems…[to] assess how it performs in space and how it [degrades] over time.” Manley says that while NASA uses its X-37B with the International Space Station, the Air Force would prefer to keep its upgraded classified version away from prying eyes.
According to details recently reported by the Daily Express, “The U.S. Air Force has a top-secret mission in
space that uses an old NASA project to ‘test hardware’ in the cosmos before officially launching it.”
That information was shared by astrophysicist Scott Manley with his 1.03 million subscribers on his popular YouTube channel. (Manley notes in his bio that he is not a professional YouTuber, he has a day job, and doesn’t take sponsored content for his videos.)
In his video titled “Everything We Know About The U.S. Air Force’s Secret Space Plane – The X-37B,” Manley discusses the classified missions that the Air Force has been carrying out for the past 10 years in low Earth orbit using a small reusable robotic space plane designated X-37B.
Manley, who holds a Masters in computation physics, states in the video while discussing the history of the plane, “NASA’s X-37 would see its first flight in 2005, carried under the White Knight, the carrier aircraft that would take the spaceship one vehicle to its launch altitude, where it would perform its prize-winning flights.
“So it did several captive carry tests and in 2006 they finally got to drop it and test it and the thing flew beautifully under a fully autonomous control, it aimed for the runway, it put itself down gently in the center of the runway and ran off the end where it sustained some minor damage.
12:37 minutes – Scott Manley describing the NASA/USAF X-37B (‘Scott Manley’ YouTube)
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