Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Monday, May 08, 2017

Military Space Plane Returns from Two-Year Secret Mission


CBS News reports:

An unpiloted military space plane, launched by an Atlas 5 rocket in May 2015, glided to an unannounced landing on the long shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, closing out a 718-day mission.

It was the fourth clandestine flight of the X-37B, the longest in the program and the first to end in Florida, where Boeing has taken over two former shuttle processing hangars that have been modified to handle the secret spycraft. The first three missions ended with landings at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

The program's fifth launch is expected later this year. Two X-37Bs, also known as OTVs, or orbital test vehicles, are known to exist.

The spacecraft are believed to fly as orbital test beds for advanced technology sensors and other systems but the program is classified, and the Air Force provides almost no details on the nature of the space plane's missions, what might have been accomplished or when the reusable craft might fly again.

The X-37 has nothing to do with peaceful space exploration or NASA.  It's being developed for surveillance, to interfere with competitors satellites and to give the US first-strike capability.  One could call it a super-drone.

Analysts contend the military space plane is part of the Pentagon's effort to develop the ability to strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour - known as Prompt Global Strike.

In the annual US Space Command computer simulation attacks on Russia and China the military space plane is one of the first weapons used - it flies down from orbit and drops an attack on the targeted nation.

The actual expense of the X-37 is hidden in the Pentagon's 'black,' or classified, budget but is likely to cost more than $1 billion. The launch vehicle alone - an Atlas rocket - costs as much as $200 million.

A a key tool in the growing US first-strike program, the unmanned military space plane becomes even more effective if the US can get its potential rivals to reduce their nuclear retaliatory capability giving the Pentagon an ever greater chance of pulling off a successful decapitating attack.

Thus as the US moves forward with these kinds of global strike systems it will be likely that target nations of the Pentagon will be forced to respond by refusing to reduce their nuclear weapons and by developing new technologies to counter the US program.

(Please note how they just happened to have a spare American flag on the runway when the X-37 landed.)

Bruce

2 Comments:

Blogger Geoff Holland said...

Why the space suits?

Would they be equipped with nuclear armed rockets?

Would there be a number of them so that at any one time there would be one over Russia and another over China? (Iran, North Korea).

5/9/17, 8:34 PM  
Blogger Bruce K. Gagnon said...

No nuclear power on this mission. The white suits are likely to protect the workers - not knowing what might come back on a spaceship that has been in orbit for two years. They now have two of these X-37 planes and will likely build newer versions as they are likely redesigning them after each mission to incorporate new technologies they test on these long missions.

5/9/17, 8:39 PM  

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