The spacecraft of the US Air Force (X-37B) has been orbiting the Earth since May 2015, carrying out several activities of a highly confidential nature, the fourth mission of the robotic vehicle (X-37B), known as the orbital test vehicle (OTV) (OTV) was in April 2010, March 2011, and December 2012, and here are some amazing facts that can be reported about the military space ship.
1. It’s small.
The X-37B is similar to the NASA space shuttle, but the two vehicles are not similar in size. The dimensions of the X-37B are 29 feet, ie, 8.8 meters long, with their 15-foot wings, 4.6 meters), while the dimensions of the retired space shuttle 122 feet, ie: (37 meters) in length, and more than 78 feet, ie: (24 meters) from the top of the wing to the top of the wing, and can load the two vehicles (X-37B) The X-37B is designed to be transported to orbit by placing it within the payload of the space shuttle, but it is ultimately decided to place it on the front of a carrier rocket. At present, the X-37B Space aboard a rocket (Atlas 5), and is similar to the space shuttle, owns the vehicle (X-37B) the ability to land on the runway such as aircraft, it is automatically, in contrast to the space shuttle, which normally carries a crew of seven astronauts.
2. Its mission is confidential.
Although some of the payloads that the X-37B carried with it were revealed by the US Air Force, most of its equipment was classified as well as details of its activities in orbit. This secrecy led to speculation that the vehicle, Of space weapon types, and may be designed to capture or destroy satellites. However, these theories are denied by the Air Force, insisting that the X-37B is merely a test of future spacecraft techniques and carries various experiments into space , And then return to Earth, as independent experts say, some of these Intentions that are tested may be sensors, and other equipment spy satellites for the future.
3. The beginning of the vehicle program was from NASA.
NASA began its X-37 program in 1999, initially planning to develop two separate vehicles: the ALTV and the OV. In 2004, NASA upgraded the X- 37) to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and promised a secret from this stage. In 2006, the Air Force announced that it would develop its own X-37, called X-37B or OTV, . The design of the spacecraft was based primarily on the design of the original OV, which was never built, and DARPA built and tested the ALTV vehicle, Boeing Contractor hip basic program vehicle (X-37B) since 1999 to date, the company has apparently built a two spacecraft (X-37B) for the Air Force, as the planes to carry out four space missions program.
4. The missions of this vehicle are incredibly long.
The Air Force Factsheet states that the X-37B is designed to spend more than 270 days on each space flight. However, the larger vehicle has determined how many times it can climb into space, (OVV-2) and OTV-3 (OTV-3), respectively, on the first of its 225-day space flight, called OTV-1, and stayed on the following flights: 469 days and 674 days, (OTV-4) broke its Earth orbit record for 718 days before landing on May 7, 2017. Long duration may be a key part of a mission. (X-37B). Experts said the engineers were testing future satellite technologies that wanted to know how the equipment behaves when it stays in the space environment for a long time.
5. You can see the vehicle from the ground.
Although the Air Force has not disclosed the exact orbit of the vehicle (X-37B), professional astronomers have been able to track the vehicle from the ground, and you can also do so. When you use the Space.com satellite tracker, you can determine where the vehicle is located ( X-37B) in the Dome of the Sky during its mission, and the scene will not be exciting; it will look like a star of average brightness moving through the sky.
6.Future versions of the vehicle.
The current version of the X-37 may not be the last to reach space, so a team of engineers led by NASA’s former astronaut Stephen Robinson suggested using a modified version of the X-37B, For emergency use at the ISS, just an idea at the moment, and there are no indications that Boeing is considering using the vehicle as an ambulance for astronauts.