Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New U.S. Space Plane Successfully Tested

The Air Force's newest space vehicle, sort of a modern small pickup truck compared to the Shuttle's 70s cargo hauler, has returned to Earth after a seven month test flight.  Speculation abounds about the ultimate purpose of the robotic plane, currently designated X-37B.  Some say it is an orbiting spy platform, others that it could be used in anti-satellite operations.  It began its life as a NASA testbed, and likely continues in that role for the Air Force.  The official word states that it is a continuation of the types of missions the Shuttle has been used for.

In any case, it's nice to see at least some work still going on in creating space vehicles, especially as the Space Shuttle program winds down.

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