American "space plane" — no less a mystery than the space
Experts and journalists from different countries build hypotheses about possible U.S. military reusable unmanned X-37-B.
The so-called "space plane" was launched recently with the Florida spaceport in Earth orbit by the "Atlas". The mission from the beginning has been under a veil of secrecy, reporters even close to the unit have not admitted. In addition, the budget of the project is unknown. It is not supervised by NASA and the Pentagon, to be exact — a special secret department of the Air Force. Little is clarified and the overall design scheme, laid out on the Internet.
The fact of starting, of course, the military could not ignore. In the official statement said that during the flight "will be tested by new technologies and components." That is on the board and how long the flight, the Air Force kept it. Just noticed that they will be of interest to the sum of the costs of preparing the unit for a new start after returning from space, where it can be a maximum of 270 days.
Faced with a lack of information, the international media have given his version of why so stingy with words of war: on kosmosamolete found weapons against satellites. In this case, it is a step towards the militarization of space, which is unacceptable and contrary to international agreements. Although Russia's leading expert in the field of space Igor Lisov in an interview with "Voice of Russia" was not inclined to clearly see in the current military mission oriented.
"Officially, the stated purpose in this unit — testing. This is reasonable, because such a model is shown on the orbit for the first time, and in general, if he can go and sit down — not a guarantee, it is time. Secondly, no less important task is to check mezhpoletnoy training . If it will take about 10-15 days, it is interesting for the U.S. Air Force, as well as in six months if the shuttle — it is not. And suppose that the pilot unit immediately put the product of military rather naively, "- said the expert.
In addition to the control system, the American experts will likely test the heat shield, boarding facilities, and other technologies necessary for the flight itself, says Igor Lisov. Since all of this in itself is difficult enough, neither the project manager will not load the mission has some military tasks. Kosmosamolet hardly represents a military threat — at least for now, the expert believes.
Meanwhile, to clarify what the device will still in orbit, the Russian tracking stations will be difficult, admits Lisov. The orbit has an inclination of 30 degrees, so with the territory of Russia it is not visible. In any case, the problem is not clear, and subsequent runs when the flight technology will be worked out.
A prototype of the ship was conceived 10 years ago. NASA planned to use it as an escape pod for the space station. But now the option of using the device for the emergency evacuation of the station crew principle: for this purpose raskonserviruet frozen NASA spacecraft project "Orion", which was part of a closed lunar program. The U.S. military about the X-37-B is unlikely to say much, since much he is secret. Therefore, experts and journalists have no choice but to build a new assumptions. Kosmosamoleta second start is scheduled for 2011.