Autor Wątek: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit  (Przeczytany 1526 razy)

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Offline Orionid

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Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
by Sandra Erwin — October 27, 2019


The Air Force X-37B spaceplane landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility Oct. 27, 2019. Credit: Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Barrett: 'The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane.'

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane successfully landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility Oct. 27 at 3:51 AM EST, the Air Force announced.

This was the fifth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. It flew for 780 days during this mission, breaking its own record by being in orbit for more than two years. As of today, the total number of days spent on-orbit for the entire test vehicle program is 2,865 days, the Air Force said. The spaceplane originally was designed to fly for just 270 days.

“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane,” Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said in a news release.

The mission, called OTV-5, was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Sept. 7, 2017.

The spaceplane program, managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, has been used for science experiments to test technologies in a long-duration space environment.

“With a successful landing today, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and successfully completed all mission objectives,” said Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. “This mission successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments, among others, as well as providing a ride for small satellites.”

One of the experiments on OTV-5 is the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s second Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader (ASETS-II). This experiment will measure the long term performance of an oscillating heat pipe on orbit. Oscillating heat pipes are capable of transporting more than 45 times more heat than copper and are one of many technologies that the Air Force is testing to help advance space vehicle designs, AFRL said.

The original X-37 program was led by NASA and ran from 1999 to 2004, when NASA transferred it to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA continued the development of an approach and landing test vehicle. The Air Force adapted NASA’s original design of the orbital test vehicle to make the X-37B. Boeing is the prime contractor.

The Oct. 27 landing marked the second time the X-37B touched down at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility. Mission 4 landed at Kennedy Space Center May 7, 2017, after 718 days in orbit.

The Air Force plans to launch the sixth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral in 2020.


Source: https://spacenews.com/air-force-x-37b-secret-spaceplane-lands-after-780-days-in-orbit/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 03:51 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Październik 27, 2019, 16:06 »
Wylądował o 3:51 am czasu EDT, a nie jak piszą w tym artykule.

W USA zmiana czasu dopiero w przyszły weekend !
Intel Core i5-2320 3GHz/8GB RAM/AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series/HD 1 TB/Sony DVD ROM...

Offline Adam.Przybyla

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Październik 28, 2019, 11:31 »
Przy okazji, cos mu tam na orbicie chyba ... wypadlo:
https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1188513737571033089
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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Październik 30, 2019, 05:19 »
U.S. military’s X-37B spaceplane lands in Florida
October 27, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]


Members of the X-37B recovery team, wearing hazardous material suits, approached the X-37B spaceplane for safety checks after the vehicle landed Sunday on the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force’s reusable Boeing-built X-37B spaceplane returned to Earth early Sunday with a touchdown at NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a few miles away from where it launched 780 days ago atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The unpiloted winged spaceplane, resembling a miniature space shuttle, touched down at the Florida spaceport at 3:51 a.m. EDT (0751 GMT) Sunday, the Air Force said in a press release.

“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable spaceplane,” said Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force, in a statement. “Each successive mission advances our nation’s space capabilities.”

While the X-37B itself is not classified, details of its activities in orbit have remained largely secret. The spaceplane’s planned landing Sunday was also not disclosed in advance by the Air Force.

The X-37B landing Sunday completed the fifth — and longest — flight in the program’s history.

“The safe return of this spacecraft, after breaking its own endurance record, is the result of the innovative partnership between government and industry,” said Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, in a statement.

The X-37B executed a ground-commanded deorbit burn early Sunday to target landing at the Kennedy Space Center, then performed a series of banking maneuvers during re-entry to dissipate speed before lining up with the shuttle-era runway near Cape Canaveral.

“With a successful landing today, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and successfully completed all mission objectives,” said Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, which manages the X-37B program. “This mission successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments, among others, as well as providing a ride for small satellites.”



The fifth X-37B mission lifted off on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 7, 2017. Credit: SpaceX

The reusable X-37B spaceplane, developed by Boeing Phantom Works, is designed to launch on top of a conventional rocket. Once in orbit, the craft opens its payload bay doors and extends a power-generating solar array, allowing it to remain in space for years.

NASA’s space shuttle was limited in mission duration to less than three weeks. NASA’s shuttle orbiter carried astronauts on every flight and used fuel cells consuming liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to produce electricity, and hydraulic actuators for its flight control surfaces, landing gear breaks and other components.

The X-37B — about one-fourth the length of NASA’s shuttle orbiters — uses electro-mechanical actuators, removing concerns about the limited useful of hydraulic control systems.

The Air Force says the X-37B “performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.”

The fifth X-37B mission, which ended Sunday, launched Sept. 7, 2017, from launch pad 39A at Kennedy aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The four previous X-37B flights took off on United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rockets from a nearby pad at Cape Canaveral.

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, has a wingspan of nearly 15 feet (4.5 meters) and a length of more than 29 feet (8.9 meters). The ship’s wings fit snugly inside the 17-foot-diameter (5-meter) payload shrouds on the Falcon 9 and Atlas 5 rockets.

“Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing,” said Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess, commander of the 45th Space Wing, which provides range safety support for launches and landings at Cape Canaveral. “Our team has been preparing for this event, and I am extremely proud to see their hard work and dedication culminate in today’s safe and successful landing of the X-37B.”

Boeing refurbishes the X-37B spaceplanes inside a former space shuttle hangar at the Kennedy Space Center. Ground teams were expected to roll the X-37B vehicle back to the hangar near Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building later Sunday.



Credit: U.S. Air Force

After its launch in September 2017, amateur satellite trackers found the X-37B in April 2018 in a circular 221-mile-high (356-kilometer) orbit inclined 54.5 degrees to the equator, a higher orbital inclination than the previous four X-37B missions. The higher inclination allows the spacecraft to fly over more parts of Earth on each trip around the planet.

Since then, the global community of satellite observers tracked the spaceplane as it changed altitude several times, finally maneuvering into a a low orbit with an average altitude of roughly 170 miles (274 kilometers) earlier this month. Previous X-37B missions had settled in a lower orbit in the weeks before landing.

One experiment that flew on the fifth X-37B mission was the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader payload. The experiment was designed to to test electronics and oscillating heat pipe technologies for future satellite thermal control systems.

No other mission objectives were released by the Air Force, other than statements suggesting the X-37B mission provided a ride for other undisclosed small satellites.

Any small satellites that were deployed from the X-37B have not appeared in the U.S. military’s catalog of human-made space objects, and were not registered in accordance with the United Nations Registration Convention, according to experts who track space activity.

“Unless they mean the satellites were attached and not deployed, this is a violation of the UN convention,” wrote Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who maintains an authoritative log of all global space launches.

The United States is one of 69 states that have ratified the UN Registration Convention, a list that also includes space powers such as China and Russia.

Ted Molczan, a leader in the global community of hobbyists who expertly monitor satellite movements, said the only two entries in the U.S. military’s catalog of human-made space objects attributed to the fifth X-37B mission were the spaceplane itself and its Falcon 9 upper stage. He added he was not aware of any sightings of satellites that may have been deployed by the X-37B.

If the X-37B released small satellites in orbit, it would be the first time that the United States or Russia have “blatantly flouted” the UN Registration Convention, McDowell tweeted.

“It is true that China and some other countries have not been fully compliant with the convention, but those cases did not involve deliberate withholding of information about secret military satellites,” McDowell wrote.

Boeing has manufactured two X-37B spaceplanes for the Air Force, and the next X-37B mission is scheduled to launch between April and June 2020 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket.

Here is a list of the X-37B missions to date:


Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 1
(first flight of Vehicle No. 1)
Launch: April 22, 2010, on Atlas 5 rocket
Landing: Dec. 3 2010, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Duration: 224 days


Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 2
(first flight of Vehicle No. 2)
Launch: March 5, 2011, on Atlas 5 rocket
Landing: June 16, 2012, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Duration: 469 days


Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 3
(second flight of Vehicle No. 1)
Launch: Dec. 11, 2012, on Atlas 5 rocket
Landing: Oct. 17, 2014, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Duration: 675 days


Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 4
(unconfirmed which vehicle)
Launch: May 20, 2015, on Atlas 5 rocket
Landing: May 7, 2017, at Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Duration: 718 days


Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5
(unconfirmed which vehicle)
Launch: Sept. 7, 2017, on Falcon 9 rocket
Landing: Oct. 27, 2019, at Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Duration: 780 days


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/10/27/u-s-militarys-x-37b-spaceplane-lands-in-florida/

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Październik 30, 2019, 05:19 »

Offline Adam.Przybyla

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Październik 30, 2019, 13:30 »
Bla bla bla ...

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X-37B spaceplane to carry DoD and NASA experiments in upcoming mission
by Sandra Erwin — May 6, 2020 [SN]


X-37B spaceplane. Credit: Boeing

The X-37B Operational Test Vehicle 6 will be launched to low Earth orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

WASHINGTON — The sixth mission of the U.S. Air Force’s reusable X-37B spaceplane is scheduled to launch May 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The X-37B Operational Test Vehicle 6 will be launched to low Earth orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office owns the Boeing-made spaceplane, which flies and lands autonomously. The U.S. Space Force is responsible for the launch, on-orbit operations and landing of the vehicle.

OTV 6 will carry more experiments than any of the previous X-37B missions, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said May 6 during an online event hosted by the Space Foundation.

Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said the upcoming X-37B mission will be the first to use a service module to host experiments. The service module is an attachment to the aft of the vehicle and “enables us to continue to expand the capabilities of the spacecraft and host more experiments than any of the previous missions,” he said in a statement.

One of the experimental payloads is FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The FalconSat-8 will carry five science payloads. There are also two NASA experiments to study the results of radiation and other space effects on a materials sample plate and seeds used to grow food. A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory experiment will transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could then be transmitted to the ground.

The Atlas 5 rocket will fly in the 501 configuration with a five-meter fairing, a single-engine upper stage and no solid rocket motors. The mission is named USSF-7.

The design and landing profile of the X-37B — weighing about 11,000 pounds and nearly 29-foot long — is similar to NASA’s Space Shuttle but it’s one-fourth the size. The most recent mission OTV 5 was launched Sept. 7, 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It landed on October 27, 2019.


Source: https://spacenews.com/x-37b-spaceplane-to-carry-dod-and-nasa-experiments-in-upcoming-mission/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 03:54 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Payloads revealed for next flight of X-37B military spaceplane
May 6, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN


The X-37B spacecraft is encapsulated inside the Atlas 5 rocket’s payload fairing inside a processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: U.S. Space Force

The next flight of the U.S. military’s reusable X-37B spaceplane — scheduled for liftoff May 16 from Cape Canaveral — will carry more experiments into orbit than any of the winged ship’s previous missions, including two payloads for NASA and a small deployable satellite built by Air Force Academy cadets.

Military officials announced new details about the upcoming X-37B mission Wednesday, and confirmed its target launch date of May 16. The Boeing-built spaceplane was mounted on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket Tuesday inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad.

The unpiloted spacecraft launches inside a payload shroud on top of a conventional rocket, unfurls a power-generating solar array in orbit to generate electricity, and returns to Earth for a runway landing like NASA’s retired space shuttle.

“This sixth mission is a big step for the X-37B program,” said Randy Walden, director and program executive officer for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. “This will be the first X-37B mission to use a service module to host experiments. The incorporation of a service module on this mission enables us to continue to expand the capabilities of the spacecraft and host more experiments than any of the previous missions.”

The service module is attached to the aft end of the X-37B spaceplane, providing additional capacity for experiments and payloads. The X-37B itself, measuring more than 29 feet (8.9 meters) long, also has a cargo bay inside its fuselage.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said Wednesday that the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office is partnering with the U.S. Space force and the Air Force Research Laboratory on the next X-37B mission.

“In today’s age of electrons, space systems track storms, locate stranded motorists, timestamp credit card transactions, and monitor treaty compliance,” Barrett in a statement. “Demonstrating the department’s innovation, this X-37B mission will host more experiments than any prior missions. This launch also demonstrates the department’s collaboration that pushes the boundaries for reusable space systems.”

Barrett said the sixth upcoming flight “maximizes the X-37B’s unique capabilities.”

“This important mission will host more experiments than any prior X-37B flight, including two NASA experiments,” Barrett said Wednesday. “One is a sample plate evaluating the reaction of select significant materials to the conditions in space. The second studies the effect of ambient space radiation on seeds.”

The X-37B also carries a space-based solar power experiment.

“A third experiment designed by the Naval Research Laboratory transforms solar power into radio frequency microwave energy, then studies transmitting that energy to Earth,” Barrett said.



Inside a former space shuttle processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane is prepared for encapsulation inside the nose shroud of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. Credit: U.S. Space Force

Once in orbit, the X-37B will also release a small satellite named FalconSat 8. Developed by Air Force Academy cadets in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, the small satellite carries five experimental payloads. It will be operated by by the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Space Operations Squadron.

In a statement Wednesday, the Air Force said it “continues to push the flight envelope for the X-37B, and will build upon its growing collaboration with experiment partners with its sixth mission.”

Barrett said Wednesday the Air Force is declassifying some of the service’s space activities. The X-37B, which Barrett said was “previously cloaked in secrecy,” has logged 2,865 days in orbit on five previous missions.

The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, remains an Air Force asset, officials said. The newly-established Space Force is responsible for the launch, on-orbit operations and landing.

“The ability to test new systems in space and return them to Earth is unique to the X-37B program and enables the U.S. to more efficiently and effectively develop space capabilities necessary to maintain superiority in the space domain,” the Air Force said in a statement.

Boeing has built two X-37B vehicles for orbital flights. The program began under NASA management before transferring to DARPA in 2004, then to the Air Force in 2006.

The first X-37B space mission launched in April 2010. Four of the previous X-37B flights have launched on ULA Atlas 5 rockets, and one lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher.

The sixth X-37B mission will fly on a version of ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket without any strap-on solid rocket boosters and a 17.7-foot-diameter (5.4-meter) payload fairing.



The reusable X-37B spaceplane is prepared for encapsulation inside the payload fairing of an Atlas 5 rocket ahead of a launch scheduled for May 16. Credit: U.S. Space Force

“Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, advanced propulsion systems, advanced materials and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing,” Air Force officials wrote in an X-37B fact sheet.

“The X-37B team continues to exemplify the kind of lean, agile and forward-leaning technology development we need as a nation in the space domain,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations. “Each launch represents a significant milestone and advancement in terms of how we build, test, and deploy space capabilities in a rapid and responsive manner.”

The fifth X-37B mission concluded with a landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing and military teams ready the reusable spaceplanes inside a former space shuttle processing facility at Kennedy.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/06/payloads-revealed-for-next-flight-of-x-37b-military-spaceplane/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 03:57 wysłana przez Orionid »

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U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane off to its sixth mission
by Sandra Erwin — May 17, 2020 [SN]


United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas 5 rocket carrying the U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane May 17, 2020. Credit: ULA

The Air Force said this mission will carry more experiments than any of the previous X-37B flights.

WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance on May 17 launched an Atlas 5 rocket carrying the U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane to orbit for its sixth mission. The vehicle lifted off at 09:14 AM Eastern time from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The aircraft separated from the launch vehicle 3 minutes and 40 seconds after liftoff, ULA said.

The launch was originally scheduled on Saturday, May 16, but was scrubbed due to ground winds.

The X-37B is an autonomous reusable spaceplane sent to low Earth orbit for long missions that can last up to two years. The aircraft that was launched on Sunday — Operational Test Vehicle 6 — carries several U.S. military and NASA science experiments. The Air Force operates two X-37B spacecraft made by Boeing.

The spaceplane is a derivative of the X-37A designed by NASA in the late 1990s to deploy from the space shuttle. The program later was transferred to the Defense Department as is now managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

The Air Force for a decade kept the X-37B in a cloak of secrecy but it is now openly showing it off as a symbol of U.S. space dominance. The spaceplane is featured in the U.S. Space Force’s new recruiting video unveiled May 6 by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.

Barrett told reporters that the X-37B is “worthy of disclosure” and a capability with which the American public should be familiar.

The specifics of what the X-37B does in space, however, are classified. ULA only could show the first seven minutes of the flight in its live webcast.

“The details of the vehicle, the mission it will do on orbit, and where it will go, all that is classified,” ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno told reporters. “We have to stop the live broadcast early so we don’t provide adversaries too much data about the flight.”

The Atlas 5 flew with a five-meter payload fairing, a single-engine upper stage and no solid rocket motors strapped to the core stage. At about 11,000 pounds and nearly 29-foot long, the X-37B is large enough that it requires a big rocket like the Atlas 5 to get to orbit but not heavy enough to need extra solid boosters.

This was the 84th flight of the Atlas 5 since it entered service in 2002.

The Air Force said OTV 6 will carry more experiments than any of the previous X-37B missions. One of the satellites is the U.S. Air Force Academy’s FalconSAT-8 with five science payloads focused on propulsion technologies. There are also NASA experiments to study the results of radiation and other space effects on materials and seeds used to grow food. A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory experiment will test the use of microwave beams to send solar power to Earth from space. The experiment will convert solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could then be transmitted to the ground.

The chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond and Barrett were at Cape Canaveral to observe the launch of the mission code named USSF-7.

Raymond said during a call with reporters that the U.S. military gains valuable insights from each of the X-37B missions. “We learn a lot about the value of reusability and autonomy,” said Raymond. In its five flights the X-37B spent 2,865 days on orbit.

When the X-37B completes its mission, it autonomously cruises back to Earth and lands on a runway.


Source: https://spacenews.com/u-s-air-force-x-37b-spaceplane-off-to-its-sixth-mission/
« Ostatnia zmiana: Kwiecień 07, 2021, 04:05 wysłana przez Orionid »

Offline kanarkusmaximus

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No nie no, Orionidzie, ten podlinkowany artykuł oraz dwa poprzednie w 100% nie dotyczą misji OTV-5. Raczej powinieneś otworzyć wątek pt "Linki medialne - misja OTV-6" (albo coś w tym stylu), ale nie dla OTV-5.

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No nie no, Orionidzie, ten podlinkowany artykuł oraz dwa poprzednie w 100% nie dotyczą misji OTV-5. Raczej powinieneś otworzyć wątek pt "Linki medialne - misja OTV-6" (albo coś w tym stylu), ale nie dla OTV-5.
Mamy wątek poświęcony OTV-6. A w tym wątku generalnie są zamieszczane artykuły dotyczące całego programu.
Nieporozumienie może się brać z tego, że tytuły wątków biorą się od pierwszego artykułu. W innym miejscu powinien się znaleźć spis szczegółowy artykułów z tego wątku z podziałem na konkretne misje  :)

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Maj 17, 2020, 16:48 »
Why a microwave-beam experiment will launch aboard the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane
By Rafi Letzter - Staff Writer 2 days ago [Livescience]

The scientific experiment offers a first look at the secretive space plane's orbital activities.


A Boeing image shows the X-37B in its capsule before launch. (Image: © Boeing/US Space Force)

A secretive military space plane will soon test the idea of using microwave beams to send solar power to Earth from space. The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane is expected to launch into orbit Saturday (May 16) with an experiment onboard that tests the possibility.

The Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment (PRAM-FX) represents the first orbital test of a sci-fi technology first envisioned in the 19th century — solar satellite power. Build a big solar array in orbit, the idea goes, and it could collect enough sunlight (unfiltered by atmospheric effects or clouds,) to generate a powerful beam of microwaves. A collection station on Earth would then convert that beam into useful power. Launch any satellite into a high enough orbit and it will receive a near-constant stream of sunlight, with only brief passes through the Earth's shadow. A whole constellation of solar arrays might offer uninterrupted 24/7 power.

"The idea got a lot of attention, and sort of came into its own in the late 60s, early 70s, when there became an imperative to explore energy sources other than fossil fuels ," when fossil fuel supplies became unstable and prices skyrocketed, said Paul Jaffe, a civilian electronics engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and leader of the NRL's beamed energy research.

That research tapered off as fuel prices dropped, Jaffe said. But in 2007, the Department of Defense picked up the baton. A satellite beam is a much safer and more efficient way of getting power to an overseas military base than convoys of fuel trucks, he said. Those trucks, stuffed with combustible fuel, can be attacked and destroyed, risking the lives of their drivers and guards. But a microwave beam passes invisibly through the atmosphere unguarded. You can't shoot at it.

With time, the beams might also power military drones, like the ones now used for spying and killing overseas. Powered by a microwave beam, the drones could buzz endlessly overhead without ever having to land to refuel. (Even further down the road, of course, there might be civilian applications for the technology.)

So far, PRAM-FX can't do any of that. But it offers the NRL team a first chance to test a key component of a solar power satellite in the environment where it would eventually function.

The experimental device sandwiches its electronics between a solar array and a backplate, according to Chris DePuma, an electronics engineer at the NRL also working on the project. The solar array collects energy from the sun, converts it to a DC electric current, and then uses that current to power a 2.45 gigahertz microwave "that theoretically in the future would be transmitted out of an antenna pointed toward a receiver site," DePuma told Live Science.

For PRAM-FX's purposes though, the microwave energy lands on a coaxial cable that "dumps it off" into an instrument used to record data, DePuma said. The NRL researchers will compare that output to the energy taken in using the solar array to figure out the efficiency of their setup.

"This will inform the feasibility and the economics of something like solar power satellites," Jaffe told Live Science.

This isn't the first time these researchers have tested the equipment. Experiments in vacuum chambers on Earth, using lamps to mimic the effects of the orbital sun, have offered clues as to how PRAM-FX will operate. But there's nothing quite like being up there, the researchers said.

The secretive platform

PRAM-FX will be one of several research payloads aboard the X-37B when it launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday. That's unusual: In its previous five missions, the Air Force didn't mention X-37B carrying scientific payloads. In its cumulative seven years and 10 months in orbit, no details about the space plane's payloads or precise purpose were ever disclosed.

This time around though, a bit more information is on offer. According to a Space Force statement, the X-37B will carry a "service module" into space with the spaceplane's first payload of scientific experiments. It will deploy a satellite known as FalconSat-8 with some experiments aboard, while PRAM-FX and another experiment will remain attached to the X-37B.

(The X-37B belongs to the Air Force, but the Space Force is handling the launch. The Space Force is a nascent branch of the military, established in December 2019 by President Donald Trump and charged with handling space warfare.)

A key advantage of affixing PRAM-FX to the X-37B, Jaffe said, is that his team can take advantage of the X-37B's communications systems, propulsion, and other resources. That saves the NRL team the trouble and expense of building in all the machinery necessary for a free-floating satellite to operate. And the X-37B's orbit will offer lots of different sun angles at which to test the equipment, DePuma said.

The uncrewed space plane operates a bit like a smaller, robotic Space Shuttle — launching atop an Atlas V rocket and staying in orbit for months on end. Its previous, fifth mission lasted 780 days before the machine glided back to Earth on Oct. 27, 2019.

NRL researchers considered other possibilities for getting PRAM-FX into space, including one of NASA's space station resupply missions, before landing on the X-37B.

"We did explore a number of different hosts as possibilities, and ultimately this offered the best combination of availability for flight and ability to integrate with — since our experiment isn't well suited to being its own satellite because of its [bulky] dimensions," Jaffe said.

This won't lead to a weapon, at least according to the Department of Defense scientists

If you've played the game SimCity, you might be familiar with a fictional scenario in which the beam from one such solar satellite gets diverted, setting fire to the surrounding area. It's also easy to imagine an orbital microwave beam being used as a weapon.

While it might not be technically impossible to engineer a disaster situation, Jaffe said, it's also not likely.

"Most people hear 'microwave' and picture that thing in their kitchen that cooks things," Jaffe said.

But microwave frequencies are also used in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth systems on your phone, he said, and they aren't  inherently dangerous. And they aren't a terribly efficient way to set things on fire across great distances, because they have relatively low power densities.

"A way to think about power density is if you go out in the sun on a clear afternoon you're not going to burst into flames … but in that same sunlight that won't burst you into flames if you take a magnifying glass you can use it to set something on fire," Jaffe said. "Not because you're adding energy, but because you're concentrating the energy that falls on the magnifying glass such that it falls on a very small point."

That isn't a realistic scenario here, Jaffe said.

"For microwaves, it is very difficult to focus them in the same way that a magnifying glass focuses sunlight," Jaffe said. "That's why you need these really big antennas."

The bigger the antenna you have, the higher the power density you can create on Earth. But even huge antennas, more than a few miles long, would struggle to concentrate power to dangerous levels from the high orbits necessary.

"A microwave-based solar satellite would be very difficult to weaponize, if it could even be done at all," Jaffe said.

Still, if a full constellation of solar power satellites ever do get built, he said, it will be key to design them so that they don't exceed limits on microwave power already set by radiation safety regulators to prevent cancers and fires.

In the near term, Jaffe said, this technology is being developed for the military. But down the road he said he hopes it will lead to a futuristic clean power source that could benefit everyone — and give the U.S. a new near-monopoly over a global energy supply.


Source: https://www.livescience.com/microwave-beam-military-space-plane.html
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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane lands after 780 days in orbit
« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Maj 17, 2020, 17:00 »
No nie no, Orionidzie, ten podlinkowany artykuł oraz dwa poprzednie w 100% nie dotyczą misji OTV-5. Raczej powinieneś otworzyć wątek pt "Linki medialne - misja OTV-6" (albo coś w tym stylu), ale nie dla OTV-5.
Mamy wątek poświęcony OTV-6. A w tym wątku generalnie są zamieszczane artykuły dotyczące całego programu.
Nieporozumienie może się brać z tego, że tytuły wątków biorą się od pierwszego artykułu. W innym miejscu powinien się znaleźć spis szczegółowy artykułów z tego wątku z podziałem na konkretne misje  :)

Moim zdaniem ten wątek powinien mieć w takim razie tytuł nie od pierwszego artykułu, ale w takim razie właśnie od całego programu. Możemy tak zrobić? To jest najbardziej sensowne.

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B secret spaceplane
« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Maj 18, 2020, 18:17 »
Upgraded X-37B spaceplane rockets into orbit aboard Atlas 5 launcher
May 17, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]


A 197-foot-tall (60-meter) Atlas 5 rocket climbs into the sky over Cape Canaveral on Sunday. Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

Darting through low clouds, the US Air Force’s reusable X-37B spaceplane rode a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket into orbit Sunday, debuting upgrades to accommodate additional scientific experiments, a dishwasher-sized tech demo satellite, and classified military objectives.

Riding 860,000 pounds of thrust from its RD-180 main engine, the 197-foot-tall (60-meter) Atlas 5 rocket lumbered off Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad at 9:14 a.m. EDT (1314 GMT) Sunday.

The kerosene-fueled booster engine powered the rocket through a low cloud layer, and the Atlas 5 disappeared from the view of spectators within seconds. A powerful rumble left in the Atlas 5’s wake moved across the Florida spaceport, lingering after the rocket’s ascent was obscured by clouds.

Flying without any strap-on solid rocket boosters, the Atlas 5 arced toward the northeast and shed its bulbous payload fairing around the X-37B spaceplane nearly four minutes into the mission, once the rocket climbed into the rarefied vacuum of space. The Russian-made first stage engine shut down next, and a hydrogen-fueled Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine ignited to continue accelerating the X-37B spaceship into orbit.

At the request of the U.S. Air Force, United Launch Alliance’s live broadcast ended coverage of the mission’s progress around five minutes after liftoff. The Centaur upper stage was expected to deliver the X-37B — also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle — into orbit in less than 20 minutes, then release the spacecraft.

The Centaur was programmed to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up over the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia around an hour into the mission, according to airspace warning notices released to the public. The re-entry was intended to ensure the launch did not leave any unnecessary space junk in orbit.

Trajectory information gleaned from the airspace warnings suggested the Atlas 5 rocket targeted placement of the X-37B spacecraft in an orbit more than 200 miles (about 350 kilometers) in altitude, with an inclination of around 44 degrees to the equator, according to Marco Langbroek, an archaeologist in the Netherlands who also tracks satellites.

Military officials did not disclose the exact orbital parameters.

ULA declared the launch a success in a press release later Sunday morning, punctuating the 84th flight of an Atlas 5 rocket since its debut in 2002, and the third Atlas 5 flight of 2020.

The U.S. military and ULA dedicated the launch to coronavirus first responders, front-line workers, and victims of the disease. The launch was part of the military’s “America Strong” campaign, joining a series of flyovers of cities nationwide by the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels to salute health care professionals and coronavirus patients and victims.

Shrouded in secrecy, the automated X-37B spaceplane is a reusable vehicle designed to deploy small satellites, host experiments, and pursue other classified objectives. Flying without any astronauts on-board, the vehicle generates electricity with a solar array and can autonomously guide itself to a runway landing at the end of each mission.

The Air Force has disclosed it has two X-37B vehicles in its inventory, and both were built by Boeing. Officials have not confirmed which X-37B vehicle was launched Sunday.

“X-37B is a really interesting machine,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s space and launch division. “It’s a reusable spacecraft. It is autonomous, it flies without crew. It can be rapidly reconfigured to host a wide variety of experiments, and it can take off from standard launch pads on standard rockets under fairing, and it can land autonomously through public airspace.

“You add that all up, there’s a lot of innovation in this machine,” Chilton said during ULA’s launch broadcast Sunday.


[img=https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ussf-7-itl-1-1.jpg]http://An Atlas 5 rocket lifts off from pad 41 Sunday. Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now[/img]

The mission launched Sunday is the sixth flight of the X-37B program since 2010. It carries more experiments than any previous X-37B mission, according to the Air Force.

The sixth X-37B mission — designated OTV-6 — is the first to fly with a new service module attached to the aft end of the spaceplane, providing additional capacity for experiments and payloads. The X-37B itself, measuring more than 29 feet (8.9 meters) long, also has a cargo bay inside its fuselage.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said earlier this month that the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office is partnering with the U.S. Space Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory on the spaceplane’s sixth mission, which “maximizes the X-37B’s unique capabilities.”

“This important mission will host more experiments than any prior X-37B flight, including two NASA experiments,” Barrett said Wednesday. “One is a sample plate evaluating the reaction of select significant materials to the conditions in space. The second studies the effect of ambient space radiation on seeds.”

“This machine is a great blend of defense and research,” Chilton said.

“NASA has a seed experiment on this flight,” he said. “The idea is they’ve collected a lot of data on the space station around radiation effects on seeds. Long-term human trips (into space) would require some agriculture.

“X-37B can go some places the station doesn’t go, collect different kinds of radiation, and our payload bay can (provide) a different kind of shielding,” Chiltonn said. “So they’ll get more data to complete their set.”

The X-37B also carries a space-based solar power experiment.

“A third experiment designed by the Naval Research Laboratory transforms solar power into radio frequency microwave energy, then studies transmitting that energy to Earth,” Barrett said.

“The service module extends the vehicle capability,” Chilton said. “We can host more payloads that way. so this is the most we’ve ever carried on an X-37B mission. One of the things we’re carrying on that service module, which can release independent satellites, is a satellite designed and built by cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.”

The satellite, named FalconSAT-8, has its own suite of five scientific experiments and tech demo payloads.

Col. Luke Sauter, professor and head of the astronautics department at the Air Force Academy, said the FalconSAT-8 is about the size of a standard dishwasher and weighs a little more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms).

The spacecraft’s will test a novel electromagnetic propulsion system, low-weight antenna technology and a commercial reaction wheel to provide attitude control in orbit, Sauter said in response to questions from Spaceflight Now.

According to the Air Force Academy, FalconSAT 8’s experiments include:

- Magnetogradient Electrostatic Plasma Truster (MEP) – Novel electromagnetic propulsion system

- Metamaterials Antenna (MMA) – Low size, weight, power antenna with phased-array like performance

- Carbon nanotube experiment (CANOE) – RF cabling with carbon nanotube braiding flexed using shape-memory alloy

- Attitude Control and Energy Storage (ACES) – Commercial reaction wheel modified into a flywheel for energy storage and release

-  SkyPad – Off-the-shelf cameras and GPUs integrated into low-SWAP (size, weight and power) package

Sauter said the schedule for the deployment of the FalconSAT 8 spacecraft from the X-37B spacecraft remains fluid, and “may be days, weeks or months.”

“We’re a secondary (payload) flying with the host mission, and we’ll likely be released when it impacts their mission the least,” Sauter said. “We already have cadets trained and ready to perform operations when the time comes.”

In a statement before the launch, the Air Force said it “continues to push the flight envelope for the X-37B, and will build upon its growing collaboration with experiment partners with its sixth mission.”

Barrett said the Air Force is declassifying some of the service’s space activities. The X-37B, which Barrett said was “previously cloaked in secrecy,” has accumulated 2,865 days in orbit on five previous missions.

“Each flight has been successively longer, setting a record for duration,” Chilton said. “If you add up all the missions, just under eight years in orbit and a billion miles.”

In addition to hosted payloads, the X-37B itself is an experimental vehicle. Boeing said in a statement after Sunday’s launch that the mission “will test reusable space vehicle technologies.”



Inside a former space shuttle processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane is prepared for encapsulation inside the nose shroud of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. Credit: U.S. Space Force

The X-37B remains an Air Force asset, officials said. The newly-established Space Force is responsible for the launch, on-orbit operations and landing.

“The ability to test new systems in space and return them to Earth is unique to the X-37B program and enables the U.S. to more efficiently and effectively develop space capabilities necessary to maintain superiority in the space domain,” the Air Force said in a statement.

Boeing has built two X-37B vehicles for orbital flights. The program began under NASA management before transferring to DARPA in 2004, then to the Air Force in 2006.

The first X-37B space mission launched in April 2010. Four of the previous X-37B flights have launched on ULA Atlas 5 rockets, and one lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher.

Boeing and military teams ready the reusable spaceplanes inside a former space shuttle processing facility at Kennedy. The first three X-37B missions landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, but the most recent two flights concluded with returns to the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a few miles from the X-37B’s hangar.

Boeing is responsible for refurbishing the X-37B between missions, and integrates experiments on the vehicle inside a modified space shuttle processing facility at Kennedy.

“You can say that the X-37B stands on the shoulders of the space shuttle,” Chilton said. “The differences? The X-37B is autonomous, the X-37B is more rapidly reconfigurable, and frankly the challenge of coming down through public airspace without crew has been overcome, and proven to work well.

“Also the difference is the duration the X-37B can fly,” Chilton said. “Our last mission was 780 days, and that’s a lot longer than the shuttle could stay aloft.”


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/17/upgraded-x-37b-spaceplane-rockets-into-orbit-aboard-atlas-5-launcher/
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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Sierpień 30, 2020, 22:44 »
Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
by Sandra Erwin — August 13, 2020 [SN]


X-37B spaceplane. Credit: U.S. Space Force

The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B autonomous spaceplane won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for American achievement in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.

The X-37B was one of nine nominees that included NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

The reusable spaceplane is sent to low Earth orbit for long missions that can last up to two years. The Air Force operates two X-37B spacecraft made by Boeing.

The spaceplane is a derivative of the X-37A designed by NASA in the late 1990s to deploy from the space shuttle. The program later was transferred to the Defense Department and is now managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

Originally designed for missions of 270 days, the X-37B has set endurance records during each of its five completed flights. Its first mission launched in 2010. In 2019, the spaceplane broke its own on-orbit endurance record of 718 days.

The sixth mission of the X-37B spaceplane lifted off May 17, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Randall Walden, director and program executive officer of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said the service plans to continue to support the X-37B program. “Right now we plan on keeping it,” he said Aug. 13 during a Mitchell Institute webinar. “There’s a lot of interest in reusable space vehicles.”

“The Collier Trophy celebrates the record-setting mission of the X-37B,” Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said in a statement. “The X-37B advances reusable spaceplane technologies and operates experiments in space that are returned for further examination on Earth.”


Source: https://spacenews.com/air-force-x-37b-spaceplane-wins-prized-aeronautical-award/

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Odp: [SN] Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Sierpień 30, 2020, 22:44 »