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X-37 Flies but Runs Off Runway

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the just-needs-brakes dept.

128

mknewman writes "The X-37 drop test was completed today with a lift by White Knight. It had a successful flight but it ran off the end of the runway."

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Wow (0, Troll)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089118)

This is one of the worst submissions I've ever read.

LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089205)

Your name rhymes with 'puss tonic'

LOL

Re:LOL (0, Offtopic)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089275)

Shutup.

yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089377)

it's like they're not even trying.

Re:Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089464)

Well, on the bright side, it's factually correct, concise, relatively clearly written, correctly spelled, free of any stupid comments or sensationalist crap from the author or editors, and isn't a dupe. Better than at least half of Slashdot's articles, I'd say.

Reminds me of my first time... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089122)

Oh who am I kidding. I'm posting to Slashdot on a Friday night while watching Doctor Who.

Re:Reminds me of my first time... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089169)

Wait .. Not New Who season Two?

Re:Reminds me of my first time... (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089779)

That won't air until the 15th of April I believe. Maybe someone leaked the first ep (again), but I haven't heard about it.

yet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089131)

... yet it didn't run on as badly as your sentence

well... (5, Funny)

Proof_of_death (718276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089135)

It took off, it didn't explode ... two out of three aint bad, right?

Re:well... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089199)

66%? That would be a D.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089328)

better than 33%, a F

Re:well... (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089329)

D is for Diploma!

Re:well... (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089598)

We're dealing with the government here - anything that can do something right 66% of the time is FANTASTIC.

Sure beats the heck out of our missile shield, anyway ;-)

Re:well... (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089651)

"Any landing you walk away from is a good one", according to the old pilot's adage.

Not sure how to apply that to a robot...

Re:well... (1)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090447)

"Any landing you walk away from is a good one", according to the old pilot's adage.
Not sure how to apply that to a robot...
simple:
10 do: walk
20 if: motion = yes, say "whew, all is well"
30 else, say "ow"
40 goto 10
50 ...
60 profit!!

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090750)

Warning: code cannot be reached: profit!! in line 60

Better article source... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090172)

For those who prefer to get their news from industry-specific sources rather than general media, or for those who are boycotting the Microsoft-owned MSNBC, this space.com article might help.

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/060407_x37_dr op.html [space.com]

Re:well... (1)

Jungleland (65157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090302)

Clearly they were expecting the thing to crash and didn't put too much effort into sorting out the brakes.

X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (4, Interesting)

gihan_ripper (785510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089144)

I hadn't heard about this new project till I read the article. It's neat that Spaceship One's "White Knight" is being used to haul a DARPA-sponsored project into the Ether! This truly heralds a new age of independent aeronautics.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (2, Informative)

jnhtx (87543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089248)

It's too bad this craft never flew in space. It is one of several similar projects that NASA gave up on over the last ten years. Very sad.

On a positive note, there are some excellent pictures of the White Knight and X-37 at Alan's Mojave Weblog [mojaveweblog.com] .

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (5, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089252)

This truly heralds a new age of independent aeronautics.

Independent how? Scaled Composites has already done enough Pentagon projects to fully qualify as a member of the Military Industrial Complex.

Other than market share, are they really different from Boeing in any significant way? Both companies make civilian aircraft and rockets, and both do defense contracting.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (1)

mph (7675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089418)

Independent how? Scaled Composites has already done enough Pentagon projects to fully qualify as a member of the Military Industrial Complex.
Not to mention this... [aviationnow.com]

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089452)

Scaled Composites has already done enough Pentagon projects to fully qualify as a member of the Military Industrial Complex.

I fail to see why this is bad. Being a part of the US Military Industrial Complex is an honor. I'm glad that a smart organization liked Scaled is helping defend my country. Most likely, they are helping to defend yours as well.

Perhaps you were just making a simple observation - but I thought I detected a sneer...

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089643)

Being a part of the US Military Industrial Complex is an honor.

Wow - that's incredibly simplistic.

There's a reason that Dwight Eisenhower was worried about the growth of the military industry - when it reaches (reached?) critical mass, it becomes self-perpetuating.

I once worked for a DoD contractor. It wasn't pretty.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (2, Interesting)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091950)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "simplistic" -- or what in your post is "insightful." But I have worked for both the government and for government contractors -- and it was/is an honor. I was surrounded by bright people working on projects that they believed in -- projects that provide my nation (any many others) the security we enjoy today. These people are making a difference.

I'm sorry your experience "wasn't pretty" but without more information, I can't really comment on the experience. Perhaps you simply don't agree with the current administration. If so, I would suggest you take that thought to the ballot box. When your candidate wins, s/he can proudly wield the fruits of our labors as s/he see fit as well.

It's not as simple as that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090452)

I'm glad that a smart organization liked Scaled is helping defend my country.

You must be young, or simple-minded.

Sure they're helping to "defend [your] country".

They're also helping to expand the reach of the greatest military machine on the planet, and they're strengthening the might of a fundamentalist religious power, and through both of those, they're part of the industriopolitical complex that spreads American culural and commercial imperialism to places where the locals certainly don't want it.

No doubt you prefer your own simpler worldview, but that just makes you part of the global problem.

I'm not surprised that Scaled takes military contracts, they need the money and even more importantly, the contacts that it provides. But don't bother trying to put a sweet patriotic (aka. nationalistic) gloss on it, it's false.

Re:It's not as simple as that. (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091975)

I am neither young nor do I believe I am simple minded.

I do believe that before a country can do great things it must guarantee its absolute security -- and there is no doubt that the American military is second to none (hoo-rah). Beyond that, I believe you speak in hyperbole. To call America a "fundamentalist religious power" is simply flamebait. I guess I have bitten. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with spreading American culture and commerce across the planet. Show me someone that doesn't want peace and prosperity for their children.

You don't even know me -- so don't question my patriotism.

Re:It's not as simple as that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15092867)

It looks like you are too naive to know how naive you are.

Let's just look at the arrogance/naivete in this statement:

I also believe that there is nothing wrong with spreading American culture and commerce across the planet. Show me someone that doesn't want peace and prosperity for their children.
So, does peace and prosperity require American culture? and if someone decides they don't want American help, do we have to convince them at the point of a gun?

There is no way I'm going to convinve a true believer such as yourself in a slashdot post. So, let's just try a reading assignment:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471678783/002-52 95802-3735200?v=glance&n=283155 [amazon.com]

It talks about how the US-engineered overthrow of the elected government of Iran in 1953 still reverberates today.

Read it and think about it. See if you can look in there to find the truth in the phrase 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089634)

Other than market share, are they really different from Boeing in any significant way? Both companies make civilian aircraft and rockets, and both do defense contracting.

Yes. Boeing makes high reliability commercial aircraft while Scaled Composites specializes in experimental prototypes and airplane kits for hobbyists. Boeing also picks up a lot more pork (ie, public funding with little risk or strings attached).

yes, but let's ask about things that matter (4, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090055)

Both companies make civilian aircraft and rockets, and both do defense contracting.

Sure, and both have vowels in their corporate name, and both are run by men who wear pants to work and not togas. But on what many see as the key point of whether a company is willing to try radically new and different ways of getting into space, ways independent of the heavy hand of NASA bureaucratic design requirements -- and this is the "independent" I suspect the OP meant -- they're as different as chalk and cheese.

Boeing, like all aerospace majors, has tended to be very cautious about space vehicle design, perhaps in part simply because the cost-plus nature of major NASA and DoD contracts has meant there's less incentive to innovate. Why try some weird new design that may fail if the same old boring design, just multiplied by sixty, will work fine? So what if costs $bazillions? Your profit margin is guaranteed no matter how bloated the budget gets. And that does not even get into micromanagement by Congress, changing the mission requirements every 9 months at random, and institutional conservatism in NASA/DoD.

What many people hope is that a small company that is independent of this process, in the sense that they don't have any long history with the Feds, or gigantic conventional-warfare contracts to preserve, can be more innovative, and break the apparent barrier to lowering access to space costs that seems to have solidified in the past 20 years. It seems to these people incredible that it costs no less (or at least not much less) to put x pounds in orbit in 2006 than it did in 1969. They suggest it arises from fossilization in the big aerospace industry, fused with too-close a relationship to NASA/DoD, who are themselves paralyzed by the fickleness of Congress' support and the lack of any clear vision from the President.

Whether this is a true diagnosis of the situation remains to be seen, and people like Scaled, SpaceX, X-Cor, Virgin Galactic, et cetera will prove it one way or the other fairly soon.

Re:yes, but let's ask about things that matter (2, Interesting)

waveclaw (43274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090606)

What many people hope is that a small company that is independent of this process, in the sense that they don't have any long history with the Feds, or gigantic conventional-warfare contracts to preserve, can be more innovative, and break the apparent barrier to lowering access to space costs that seems to have solidified in the past 20 years

Innovation? In aerospace, where everything positively has to have wings, including spacecraft? I'll tell you the innovation I' like to see: standard buses for satellites. Standard software [slashdot.org] for navigation, mission planning, etc. Most of what I see is people creating one-off solutions that cost a fortune to test, re-test and certify. The few that aren't are making Just Another Rocket. Why does this bother me? Because 99% of the parts are custom rigged for the mission, including those that have the same role since Sputnik went around the Earth 49 years ago.

And in academia it's worse. Professors get a micro sat project and pick random not-space-hardened hardware like shitty CCD's because their brother/wife/cousin/friend has a camera that took good pictures on their vacation. Then all the students have to work around that bad choice. It's almost like a stupid corporate pet project: doomed to fail because of the idiots at the helm.

Either that, or you could insert your favorite military-industrial-complex or CIA spy satellite consipircy theory here.

What about the future? All the poor blokes are making rockes out in the $X desert, but they will always have to spend +6 months on gov't permits just to wipe their behinds on the launchpad let alone toss something into the air. There is a quote about cars that applied to everything in the aerospace world. If cars had developed on the same schedule as computers: they'd get 300MPG, idle at 6,000MPH, parallel park themselves, cost $100 for a low-end new model which you'd need as the patchwork of private toll roads includes tar pits and your car explodes randomly. At least with spacecraft, they already do the last and most the good Earth orbits are pretty crowded, so it really wouldn't be a change.

Re:yes, but let's ask about things that matter (3, Interesting)

ax_johnson (261223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15092035)

Boeing, like all aerospace majors, has tended to be very cautious about space vehicle design, perhaps in part simply because the cost-plus nature of major NASA and DoD contracts has meant there's less incentive to innovate. Why try some weird new design that may fail if the same old boring design, just multiplied by sixty, will work fine? So what if costs $bazillions? Your profit margin is guaranteed no matter how bloated the budget gets.

Actually, when I worked for the DoD, "cost-plus" contracts (short for "cost plus fixed fee") were a means of providing an incentive to come in on or under budget. The contract price was negotiated and agreed upon, and the "fixed fee" was determined as a percentage of the negotiated cost. If the project ran over budget, the governmnet still paid the "cost", but the "fixed fee" didn't change. Thus, the profit margin decreased. If the project came in under budget, the government again only paid the (lower) "cost", and the "fixed fee" represented a higher profit margin.

At least that was how we used those contracts at the time. For some new weird design, the "cost-plus" structure would have some advantages for the government, because it puts some of the risk on the contractor.

The contractor would probably want to use the "time-and-materials" mechanism where, indeed, the "profit margin is guaranteed no matter how bloated the budget gets". Then all the risk is on the government. (Perhaps this is the contract structure these projects usually use?)

This is not to say that there isn't lots of fraud/waste/abuse in these kinds of government activities, just that it was present in many more subtle (and institutionalized) ways than just the contract mechanism or the relationship between the project mangers and the contractors.

And that does not even get into micromanagement by Congress, changing the mission requirements every 9 months at random...

In my experience, this is closer to the primary problem. The lack of long-term vision and leadership is the biggest killer of budgets and innovation. At the Congressional and Administration level, vision - by definition - does not extend beyond the next election.

As important is the following: For upper and middle managers in civil service, continuously increasing your annual budget is the priority. The way you grow an organization (and by extension, your pay scale and prestige) is by increasing your budget. Decreasing your budget through effeciency or innovation shrinks the organization, your pay scale, and your prestige. (Actually, it makes your job go away, because you pay scale can't be decreased.)

In my organization, not using all of your budget for the year in the first 3 quarters was really bad. It resulted in your remaining budget getting pulled by headquarters and sent somewhere else (where they could spend it immediately), and your budget request for the next year being cut by a corresponding (or greater) amount. It also reflected badly in preformance reviews. Consequently the incentive was this: spend as much money as fast as you can. (That was not how the management put it, of course, but that was the net effect.) I don't believe this was an isolated situation, either.

Thus, there is no institutional incentive for cost effeciency and innovation. I think that an organization independent of this process is the only way to achieve greater cost effeciency in the near term. In the long-term the institutional incentive must be changed. A new contractor (Scaled) is a start, and maybe this is the catalyst.

Prehaps the government project managers in charge of this NASA/DoD project have found a way to resist or avoid this dis-incentive system. [Insert diety here] knows all the project managers I worked with wanted to. I'm hoping so.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089393)

I'll bet that the White Knight is expensive to operate. Maybe NASA should use the X-4000 [uncoveror.com] to launch the X-37 once they are done with these tests.

Re:X-37 is a DARPA-sponsored project (1)

Mike Peel (885855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089939)

Ether? So it's going from the minds of rocket scientists, to reality, and then to the minds of 19th century physicists [wikipedia.org] and scholars from ancient greece [wikipedia.org] ? Impressive!

But apparently... (4, Funny)

TechnoGuyRob (926031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089158)

The author was insuccessful in spelling "successful."

Re:But apparently... (5, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089184)

That's unpossible.

Re:But apparently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090176)

And you were unsuccessful at spelling unsuccessful, so what?

Re:But apparently... (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089244)

"The author was insuccessful in spelling "successful."

Thanks for Choo-Choo-Choosing to post that, Ralph.

Re:But apparently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090007)

Though, you were unsuccessuful at spelling insuccessful. Sorry, if you want to be an ASS over something as lame as this, so can I.. Seems to me, that you, need to get another life...

Successful? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089161)

I can fly if I jump out of a plane, right up until I hit the ground,

Re:Successful? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089168)

wouldn't bouncing count?

Re:Successful? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089174)

Trust me. They don't bounce.

Certainly bouncing would count!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089622)

After all, the X37 was built by Boing . . . I mean Boeing.

Re:Successful? (5, Funny)

zpeterz63 (851922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089237)

*sigh* You poor, poor, uneducated man. Don't you know that all you have to do to fly is to throw yourself at the ground and miss?

Re:Successful? (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089355)

That's not flying, that's orbiting. Otherwise you don't miss, you hit.

Re:Successful? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089511)

But if you miss, you don't hit.

Ow, my head hurts.

Re:Successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089515)

That's not flying, that's orbiting.

Then why do we call it "spaceflight"?

According to Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 1fly
Pronunciation: 'flI
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): flew /'flü/; flown /'flOn/; flying
Etymology: Middle English flien, from Old English flEogan; akin to Old High German fliogan to fly and probably Old English flOwan to flow
intransitive senses
1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air
2 a : to take flight : FLEE b : to fade and disappear : VANISH
3 a : to move, pass, or spread quickly b : to be moved with sudden extreme emotion c : to seem to pass quickly
4 : to become expended or dissipated rapidly
5 : to operate or travel in an airplane or spacecraft
6 : to work successfully : win popular acceptance
transitive senses

Whoosh (1)

anno1602 (320047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090133)

The H2G2 reference there went right over your head.

Re:Successful? (1)

LouisZepher (643097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091614)

Apparantly the X-37 wasn't properly distracted at the critical moment. Either that, or one of the project's critics jumped out and said "You can't possibly be flying!", at which point, it became true. Yes, yes, I know the issue wasn't exactly with the flight, but with the landing. However, landing is arguably part of flight, and still needs control...

Marc Newman .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089176)

is NOT on teh spoke...

could just said 'Stuff Happened'.

Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (0, Troll)

TechnoGuyRob (926031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089181)

I don't mean to be facetious, or a troll, but look at this statement: The X-37 was carried up from the Mojave Airport by Scaled Composites' White Knight airplane, the same mothership that bore SpaceShipOne into the sky for its historic private-sector space launches. That's been done several times before. But until today, either unacceptable weather or electronic glitches had stymied the maiden drop test -- and the X-37 had to stay hooked to the White Knight. Not only has it been done before, it has been done with obstacles (i.e. bad weather). AND the plane had to be supported the whole time. AND it's Friday the night, why the hell am I debating article merit on Slashdot.

Re:Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (2, Informative)

Cunk (643486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089270)

You're neither facetious nor a troll. You just can't R->C->P.

The article is about something that in fact hasn't been done before. This is the first time they were able to let it go from the White Knight.

Or is there some joke in your post that I'm not getting?

Re:Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (1)

zamboni1138 (308944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089675)

NTSB Transcript:

WK Capt: Release!
X37: Shit! Shit! Like flying a goddamned brick!
CWS*: (Warning!Warning!)(Decent rate)(!WHOOP!)(!WHOOP!)
X37: Come on, come on, nose down you fuck!
RSO*: Xray three seven is Flight Level three two zero, droping like a brick!
LA CTR*: rgr Xray three seven, would you like to declare?!
X37: Negative LA, Xray three seven is A.O.K.
CWS: (!WHOOP!)(!WHOOP!)(Decent rate!)
X37 (intercom): Come on you piece of fucking shit! ...

*CWS - Cockpit Warning System
*RSO - Range Safety Officer
*LA CTR - Los Angeles Center

Re:Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090460)

Decent rate? What are you talking about? A decent rate would mean that it was sinking at an acceptable rate. For a moment I wondered whether your "s" key was working, but then I looked at the rest of your post...

Re:Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (4, Funny)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089302)

I don't mean to be facetious, or a troll

So what did you mean to be? A dumbass who can't read?

Re:Why exactly is this Slashdot-worthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090286)

He's the dumbass who wrote [slashdot.org] : The author was insuccessful in spelling "successful."

and so... (0, Redundant)

netguardianii (955452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089195)

The Knight fell off his horse.

Engineering problem (5, Funny)

angrychimp (885088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089216)

Obviously the runway wasn't long enough.

Re:Engineering problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089236)

These high tech people, get caught up in all the high-tech details, and forget about the simple things like the runway.

Re:Engineering problem (5, Funny)

Monkeys!!! (831558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089279)

Obviously the runway wasn't long enough.

Incorrect. The real Engineering problem was that the plane was too long.

Re:Engineering problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089472)

best. post. ever.

Re:Engineering problem (2, Funny)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089371)

Obviously the runway wasn't long enough.

Damn metric/standard conversion! Was the lenght of the runway measured in meters or feet? Get the guy that worked on the Mars orbiter, I know he knows how to convert this stuff correctly.

Re:Engineering problem (1)

TheIrkenElite (966990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089853)

The runway at Edwards AFB is literally TOO long. Edwards has seven runways and about 9000 ft of dried, flat lakebed that makes for perfect landings.

Re:Engineering problem (2, Funny)

oshy (674602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090356)

Maybe it was the wrong aproach angle

http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/swr0047l.jpg [cartoonstock.com]

'Not only is this the shortest runway I've ever seen it's also the widest!'

USA will use this project for war (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089290)

USA will likely use this project for warfare and opression. this and a new space laser that USA developing will be used to meddle in afairs of other country - particularly China with Taiwan issue. USA fears Chinese millitary so it tries to develop weapons that Chinese army cannot shoot down or destroy

maybe USA will stop interfering in other countries affairs. maybe then we will have pease

Re:USA will use this project for war (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089296)

Or maybe..just maybe you will STFU!

Re:USA will use this project for war (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089297)

World pease ftw!

Diamonds are forever (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089407)

Our president, Dr. Blofeld, has already been working on this for a long time now.

Re:USA will use this project for war (2, Insightful)

sarcasticfrench (949383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089552)

"USA will likely use this project for warfare and opression." You're probably right about that. From the article:

DARPA picked it up in 2004 for its potential military applications. As far back as 2001, NBC News producer Robert Windrem reported that the craft could be adapted to serve as a "space bomber."

Considering they are thinking about adapting it into a space bomber, I think we can safely say that it will be used for "warfare" :)

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089909)

Oh my god! They're going to bomb space!

They must think Osama is hiding on Hubble.

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090220)

Dropping bombs from earth orbit, that will be fun!

Re:USA will use this project for war (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090151)

"USA fears Chinese millitary so it tries to develop weapons that Chinese army cannot shoot down or destroy"

Personally, if I were China, I'd spend less time worrying about Buck Rogers and more time worrying about the Seventh Fleet. You know, something far more terrestrial, closer to home, and something the Chinese military really can't do much about. But that's just me.

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090444)

A couple of well placed nukes would finish the 7th fleet. Really, you should worry more about China's economy eating the US rather than their military.

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090525)

A couple of well placed nukes would finish the 7th fleet. Really, you should worry more about China's economy eating the US rather than their military.

Bullshit! The Seventh Fleet employs anti-nucular force fields on all their ships.

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091393)

a) China has a "no first use" policy with nuclear weapons

b) China would risk being internationally isolated if it used nuclear weapons, something that would be a very bad thing as they can't feed their huge population without importing food, (China is roughly the same size as the continental U.S. with 5 times the population and 5% less areable land) not to mention that it would completely wreck their economy

c) It would be extremely difficult to deliver a nuclear weapon to a US carrier battle group. Short-range balistic missiles aren't accurate enough to get close enough to the battle group, and assuming that you could even get close enough to the CBG to deliver a nuclear-tipped anti-ship missile like Sunburn, you would have Aegis/ESSM to contend with.

d) Nobody wants to fight a nuclear war.

Re:USA will use this project for war (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091395)

"A couple of well placed nukes would finish the 7th fleet."

Including the submarines? A single Ohio class carries 24 SLBMs, and any nuclear attack by China would result in a nuclear response from the United States, which China would assuredly loose (China's nuclear arsenal is nowhere near parity with the United States).

China's nuclear arsenal is about as much a meaningful threat to the US as space-based weapons are a meaningful threat to China. Again, it would make more sense for China to get back down to earth and modernize and expand the PLA Navy.

Re:USA will use this project for war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090222)

The United States fears the Chinese military? Er...why? Because they'll all throw themselves in front of the M1A1s so that sooner or later the tracks will start to slip in all that blood?

Dude, you should not post under the influence of powerful hallucinogens.

Overheard comment by landing gear engineer (5, Funny)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089316)

"Brakes? We don't need no stinkin' brakes!"

Re:Overheard comment by landing gear engineer (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089919)

Yes. You are damn right actually.

The shuttle has no breaks, neither does SpaceShip 1. Extra weight which has no or little use. The former uses parachutes to break and the latter uses a slide instead of a front wheel which doubles up as a friction break. Dunno about Buran, but I would not be surprised if it has no breaks either.

Re:Overheard comment by landing gear engineer (2, Informative)

Indigo (2453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090224)

The Shuttle definitely uses brakes as well as a parachute. See this NASA page [nasa.gov] .

Re:Overheard comment by landing gear engineer (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090579)

The shuttle has no breaks,

Actually, yes it does [nasa.gov] .
The former [the Shuttle] uses parachutes to break and the latter uses a slide instead of a front wheel which doubles up as a friction break.
Actually, the parachute the Shuttle deploys on landing serves mostly to keep the nose landing gear off the ground until the Shuttle slows, it's quite capable of landing without it. (The parachute was added after the Shuttle was flying.) This reduces the loading on the rather fragile nose gear.

Re:Overheard comment by landing gear engineer (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15092678)

Maybe they weren't expecting it to make it back :)

successful flight? (1)

gazpa (863326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089322)

I expect that my next flight won't be a 'successful flight'.

sounds like it passed the test then (2, Insightful)

Stanneh (775821) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089413)

i mean come on worse things have been marketed and sold to us :D

Space Bomber (1)

Osinoche (769786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089613)

Yes, Space the Final frontier. Apparently Space is known Terrorist sympathizer. Result : Bomb Space . X 37 = Space Bomber Bomb Space and You have a Space Bomber. = = = More money for Military Space bombing programs. --- Osi Osi Osi

any landing (3, Insightful)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089655)

you can walk away from is a good landing

Re:any landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090255)

It was landed on auto-pilot. The auto-pilot can't walk.

Can it have a good landing?

Go tell that to . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15090344)

Lynyrd Skynyrd (or what's left of them).

Re:any landing (1)

paxdan (824979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090659)

a great landing is one where you can fly the plane the next day

Re:any landing (1)

LouisZepher (643097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091584)

I suppose then that seaplanes that safely land in the middle of the Pacific aren't good then?

Re:any landing (2, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091974)

you can walk away from is a good landing

True as that may be, I will always prefer a nice smooth touchdown and a leisurely taxi to the gate as opposed to trying that cool looking slide with the sounds and lights of emergency vehicles.

Air travel is bad enough without lowering the bar any further. ;-)

Set It Free (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089684)

When they set it free, they said "Fly! Fly!".
It didn't want to stop flying.

Ran out of runway? At Edwards...?! (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089735)

Since the flight took place at Edwards AFB where the laid runways are several miles long and the rest of the desert is smooth and flat for miles around, either running out of runway was a non-event, or else it has a landing run of a hundred miles or more... which might need some work to fix. Like fitting brakes.

Re:Ran out of runway? At Edwards...?! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091307)

One look ath this beastie's tiny wings and it seems likely that it has to land a lot faster than a conventional plane or risk stalling. The space shuttle lands at about 200 knots, and this thing probably is even faster.

So, if they were approaching at something like 250 knots, they're eating a mile about every twelve seconds or so. It'd be easy to to overshoot their intended landing point by a few miles, and since they don't have the option of aborting the landing and coming around for another try, it's not out the question that they'd run out of runway before they ran out of speed.

Spin (1)

MrYotsuya (27522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090059)

"It had a successful flight but it ran off the end of the runway."

These guys need the White House spin doctors to make this look good...

"The test was successful because it ran off the end of the runway, after all, isn't "run" the operative word here?"

This quote says it all... (2, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090556)

Stuart Witt, manager of the Mojave Airport, was clearly pleased ... "It's been good to see synergistic tests springboard off previous successes and capitalize on national assets like the White Knight for other uses," Witt said.
This guy must've managed a dotbomb company before taking a job at the airport.

Re:This quote says it all... (1)

savorymedia (938523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091574)

DAMMIT! You beat me to it! :D

Seriously, though...I was thinking the EXACT same thing. This guy has corporate buzzspeak down pat.

The Microsoft way (1)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15090782)

It had a successful flight but it ran off the end of the runway.

It's not a bug, it's a feature!

so? (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091051)

Just make the runway longer.
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