A trial model of Russia's nuclear-capable outer space strategic bomber will be (doesn't exist yet!) developed by 2020, according to its developer.
Speculation Runs Rampant About Mission of X-37B Space Plane it exists ...
The Air Force's X-37B space plane has just returned from a two-year mission in 2014 and speculation about what that mission was is running wild. Now that mission was 5 years ago! Of course, nothing new has happened since then.
The aircraft -- a mini version of the Space Shuttle at 29 feet long and 15-foot wingspan -- officially says the craft carried out experiments in advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, and aircraft electronic systems, which is about as general as you can get. These experiments represent all the procedures and method necessary to
But specifics have been lacking which has set off an internet storm that includes conspiracy theories about top secret surveillance programs, developing bombing capabilities, and even anti-satellite warfare. That last is an area the US lags behind China and Russia as it is thought that both countries have carried out experiments in crippling communications and surveillance satellites from the ground. A laser weapon pointed at a satellite will accomplish a crippling effect without destroying and cluttering up the orbit.
Weeden, a technical advisor for the Secure World Foundation, said speculation seemed to run rampant specifically because so little has been disclosed.
"Because it is a secret military space plane, there is tons and tons of speculation about what it's doing in orbit," Weeden said.Popular online theories included that "it's testing the ability to drop bombs in orbit or covertly going up and disabling satellites," he said.
Weeden said looking at past instances of American spacecraft, he believes the spacecraft is more likely involved in something less shocking.
The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST
"What I think is more practical is that it's setting up technology for surveillance," said Weeden, who pointed out the military has relied heavily on satellite surveillance for decades. Surely Weeden can not look into the souls of men who vow to protect and defend our freedoms.
Weeden also said the fact that the spacecraft can be reused and can return unmanned can allow faster turnaround on experiments. So an unmanned container may contain whatever is necessary to ensure our freedoms.
Weeden said the ship might provide a kind of fast-track space for the military to try out new equipment in orbit before it is sent via satellite. If new equipment breaks on a satellite in orbit, it can be difficult to fix. However, if it breaks in on a returnable spacecraft, engineers can make changes before it returns to orbit.
Of course, the question that would be uppermost in everyone's mind is just who the government wants to surveil. Since the NSA and affiliated agencies don't appear to be slacking off in their mania for our communications, you have to believe they are inventing more and better ways to keep track of us.
But whatever the X-37B was up to out there, it's still a cool piece of technology that has not to our knowledge been replicated or duplicated. Flying Ahead: Russia Looks Forward to 6th Generation Jet Technology
Russian commander of the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, had earlier reported that the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Academy has already developed and tested an engine for the experimental aircraft.
The engine is expected to be showcased at the Army-2016 International Military Technology Forum, which is set to take place on September 6-11 in the Moscow Region.
“The idea is that the bomber will take off from a normal home airfield to patrol Russian airspace. Upon command it will ascend into outer space, strike a target with nuclear warheads and then return to its home base,” Solodovnikov told RIA Novosti.He added that the jet will be very capable and will need only one-two hours to reach any place on Earth through outer space. The idea of returning is of interest, provided there is a place to return to!
WELL HERE'S A QUESTION ... HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE AN EXISTING (IN ORBIT) WEAPON TO REACH ITS TARGET?
“We are cooperating with Russia’s Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute on the design of an airframe and the aircraft's characteristics. I think that its lift-off mass must be 20-25 metric tons for it to be a strike aircraft. It will [be able to accelerate to] hypersonic speed in rocket mode," he added.