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US To Launch Military Orbital Spaceplane

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the you-have-been-recruited-by-the-star-league-to-defend-the-frontier-from-Xur dept.

The Military 270

An anonymous reader writes "Not only is the US readying its first 100% military spaceplane for a November launch, but it's going to push NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission til 2009: 'The USAF and Boeing will launch the X-38B — the first military orbital space plane if you discount the secret military shuttle — on top of an Atlas V rocket in November. They want to test its flying features in space and during atmospheric reentry. And probably its anti-matter rays and nuclear bays and hyperspace engines too (but of course, they are never going to tell you that). However, there seems to be a conflict with the civilian space program which may push one of the Moon exploration missions to 2009.' Screw the moon. We have to defend ourselves against all those alien extremists from Mars!"

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413531)

MOFO

Re:First Post (5, Insightful)

xalorous (883991) | about 6 years ago | (#24413853)

Re-railing this first thread:

1. The first picture on gizmodo clearly shows a X-40A, not an X-37B.
2. Secret military shuttles?
3. Secret orbital bases?

Kind of hard to have secret anything these days, especially aircraft that fly into space, and more so for things that are in orbit. Any nut job with a telescope can see stuff in orbit. Shuttles lifting off are fairly dramatic, and show up on satellite scans like a turd in a punch bowl. As for secret shuttles, why bother when the DoD just schedules a military launch of one of the shuttles and keeps the payload a secret. And where are 'they' hiding the orbital platforms? Behind the moon?

Seriously, what kind of paranoid lunatics write stories over at gizmodo? They should stick to reviewing the iPhone and keeping tabs on Steve Jobs' not so well hidden agenda to take over the Interweb and make it so only Apple equipment is used.

Sheesh!

Re:First Post (1)

pisto_grih (1165105) | about 6 years ago | (#24414503)

TFS says its a X-38B, so everyones wrong.

Re:First Post (3, Insightful)

beardedswede (1223312) | about 6 years ago | (#24414705)

Uhhh... the jabs about the secret shuttle (and its anti-matter rays and hyperspace engines) along with the orbital space station (complete with nuclear bays and chemical lasers) were pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek. You know, when somebody says something so completely ridiculous that it's taken as a given that the reader won't take them seriously?

Red Planet Mars anybody? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 6 years ago | (#24413533)

There was a film back during the 'the commies are under the bed!' phase about communist aliens from Mars that might have inspired this?

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 6 years ago | (#24413595)

their called democrats

The only place Democrats want to drilll: (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414649)

your wallet.

Re:The only place Democrats want to drilll: (0, Offtopic)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 years ago | (#24414913)

your wallet.

Better that than my kids wallets, and my grandkids wallets, etc.

Tax me all you want (and I'll grumble and/or leave the country), but keep your greedy little fingers off my kids future. That makes me mad.

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (5, Insightful)

pacinpm (631330) | about 6 years ago | (#24413755)

Isn't space meant to be like demilitarized zone or something?

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | about 6 years ago | (#24413897)

That's why the Gundams are kept secret

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (3, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 6 years ago | (#24414929)

So, are you implying that the Ministry of Agriculture really is in charge of Gundam?

Summary and article are full of crap (5, Informative)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | about 6 years ago | (#24414029)

Isn't space meant to be like demilitarized zone or something?

Yes, the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] prohibits military bases, any kind of weapon tests and the permanent placement of WMD anywhere outside the Earth's atmosphere (nuclear ICBMs are OK as long as they stay in space only temporary on their way to their destination).

But the article (and even more so the summary) is mostly sensationalist crap: the real news here is that they are doing a test of the small and unmanned Boeing X-37B [wikipedia.org] technology demonstrator. But I guess yet another engineering step in a slow technology development program doesn't sound as much as newsworthy for people that are not in this kind of thing.

Oh, BTW, there has never been anything like a "secret military shuttle" (you simply can't hide anything like that in space). There where a few NASA Shuttle missions in the 80s dedicated to the deployment of military satellites, but the DoD has for a very long time launched its payloads on Atlas and Delta rockets. If something is broken, it's much chepear to simply launch a new one that to mount a risky STS maintenance mission (and the Shuttle can't reach most of the orbits used by military satellites). So this has absolutely nothing to do with the planned STS retirement in 2010.

Re:Summary and article are full of crap (2, Funny)

vegiVamp (518171) | about 6 years ago | (#24414211)

> you simply can't hide anything like that in space

Hey, the Vogons hid an entire fleet from us, until they destroyed the planet.

Re:Summary and article are full of crap (2, Informative)

Quicksilver_Johny (941977) | about 6 years ago | (#24414399)

Isn't space meant to be like demilitarized zone or something?

Yes, the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] prohibits military bases, any kind of weapon tests and the permanent placement of WMD anywhere outside the Earth's atmosphere (nuclear ICBMs are OK as long as they stay in space only temporary on their way to their destination).

There's also the failed Space Preservation Act [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Summary and article are full of crap (2, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 6 years ago | (#24414531)

There's also the failed Space Preservation Act.
Which is about as relevant as the Articles of Confederation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Summary and article are full of crap (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 6 years ago | (#24414591)

It's not like it's never been violated [wikipedia.org] before.

Re:Summary and article are full of crap (1)

Mr_Perl (142164) | about 6 years ago | (#24414867)

Sure, it probably would be harder today to keep launches secret. But there's a good history of this sort of activity.

The USSR had a lot of secret military vehicles and sats sent up under the guise of their civilian program, including a manned spy satellite that was equipped with "small" arms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vostok_spacecraft [wikipedia.org]

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (-1, Troll)

Mick Malkemus (1281196) | about 6 years ago | (#24414355)

Agreed. The US is insane when it comes to overkill. Half of all taxes go to the military, and our forces dwarf Russia, China, and the "axis of evil" combined.

What a waste. No wonder there's no money to fix our infrastructure.

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (5, Informative)

q-the-impaler (708563) | about 6 years ago | (#24414625)

The US is insane when it comes to overkill. Half of all taxes go to the military, and our forces dwarf Russia, China, and the "axis of evil" combined.

Wow, you pulled that out of your ass.

2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Fy2008spendingbycategory.png [wikipedia.org]

21% goes to our dwindling Social Security porgram.
16.6% goes to the DoD
13.3% goes to Medicare
11.2% goes to unemployment
9% pays the interest on national debt
7.2% goes to Medicaid
5% went to the war on terror
2.4% Health and Human Services
etc.

So to summarize: only 21.6% went to the protection of the U.S. whereas well over 60% went to social programs

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414727)

Ah, but you're not counting all of the money collected as Social Security but then diverted into the military programs...

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#24414631)

Half of all taxes go to the military

Minor nit... its 20-36%, depending on how you run the numbers. The only way you can get to 50% is if you remove social security taxes and assign nearly all debt payments as "military debt". If you just take military spending and divide it by total government outlays you get 36%, including the extra war spending in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 years ago | (#24414701)

This guy must not have been alive before WW2, when we spent over 90% of our tax monies on military spending.

Re:Red Planet Mars anybody? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 6 years ago | (#24414447)

So what? Paper doesn't stop bullets or missiles or rockets. Treaties are only in effect until they aren't any more.

Military space-plane? (1)

Channard (693317) | about 6 years ago | (#24413539)

So does this mean we finally will have the ability to 'nuke it from orbit'? 'It' being the terrorist-sheltering target of the week.

Re:Military space-plane? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#24413567)

So does this mean we finally will have the ability to 'nuke it from orbit'? 'It' being the terrorist-sheltering target of the week.

Not if the target has a substantial monetary value.

Re:Military space-plane? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413939)

I think you are being too cynical... no offense.

Re:Military space-plane? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414185)

Time to start hogging those Faberge eggs, then.

Greetings from Sweden,
John Q. Pirate

Re:Military space-plane? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#24413703)

Well, technically ICBMs leave the atmosphere on their path to the target so we can do that already...

Technical orbit, maybe... (3, Informative)

uberdave (526529) | about 6 years ago | (#24414911)

Well, technically ICBMs leave the atmosphere on their path to the target so we can do that already...

Although the fact that they're ballistic (following the path determined only by initial velocity and gravity)) technically means that they are in orbit, most people don't consider a highly eccentric trajectory that intersects the planet's surface to be an orbit. Also, merely leaving the atmosphere does not count as being in orbit.

Re:Military space-plane? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413971)

Not if Carter Burke and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation have anything to say about it.

Re:Military space-plane? (1)

Drathos (1092) | about 6 years ago | (#24414793)

Forget about nuking them. Project Crossbow [imdb.com] is real!

Weird (5, Funny)

SimonGhent (57578) | about 6 years ago | (#24413543)

That is probably the oddest article summary I've ever seen here.

Reads like a promo for the new X Files movie.

Re:Weird (0, Offtopic)

onco_p53 (231322) | about 6 years ago | (#24413675)

Just saw the X-files movie. No spoilers here but it was just like watching one of the old TV episodes. But longer.

Re:Weird (2, Funny)

mlush (620447) | about 6 years ago | (#24413725)

Just saw the X-files movie. No spoilers here but it was just like watching one of the old TV episodes. But longer.

Was that a good thing of like watching StarTrek the (Slow) Motion Picture?

Re:Weird (1)

onco_p53 (231322) | about 6 years ago | (#24413785)

Yeah I liked the old episodes, just go in expecting that and not alien ships emerging from Antarctica.

I can see how some would not like it though.

Re:Weird (5, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | about 6 years ago | (#24413729)

Yeah, but at least it follows the SSAS ("Slashdot Standards for Accuracy in Summaries") pretty well! Let's see:

- The summary calls the vehicle "X38B".
- The article calls it "X37B".
- But the article also has a picture of a craft clearly labelled "X40A". Of course that could just be a red herring.

Maybe the editors figured they'd just average the numbers from the article to be on the safe side?

Re:Weird (4, Informative)

xalorous (883991) | about 6 years ago | (#24413967)

After sorting through the linked article, I found the original article [aviationweek.com] that they're basing their article on. 1. X-37B is correct. 2. X-40A was a 'previous configuration' 3. Perhaps we should add a 'no gizmodo' clause to the posting guidelines?

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414955)

I thought the same thing. In my mind it was almost way too biased. I get it, folks here don't really dig the military in space, but can we just get a objective summary for once on the subject.

Defense! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413555)

Not to mention the possibility of a Goa'uld Ha'tak coming to invade Earth!

Re:Defense! (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | about 6 years ago | (#24414541)

Master Bra'tac says, "Draw from the past and don't let the past draw you"...

X-what? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413587)

OK, its probably just part of the military's super-secret mind rays, but just what is this thing called again?

The summary calls it the X-38B, the RTFA link calls it the X-37B, but the photo at the top clearly shows that it is called the X-40A, while the "artist's impression" at the bottom calls it the plain old X-37!

Wait, I've got it, its some kind of bizarre shell game.

Re:X-what? (2, Funny)

antek9 (305362) | about 6 years ago | (#24413609)

Bah, that's last century's technology, then. I must know, I'm typing this on a rock(et) solid X-61. Must figure out the 'shooting things out of the sky' feature, though, can't find it in the ThinkVantage menu yet.

Re:X-what? (4, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | about 6 years ago | (#24413697)

It's clearly X-Com. They're preparing for the inevitable invasion from Mars.

Remember, when the aliens come, don't walk around in circles on the street. They love it when you do that, and since the X-Com teams can't shoot straight, you may be caught by friendly fire.

Re:X-what? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 6 years ago | (#24413869)

>It's clearly X-Com
Nah, Gerry Anderson's UFO - Skydiver and the Interceptors looked way cooler than this odd looking ship.

Re:X-what? (2, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 years ago | (#24414209)

They love it when you do that, and since the X-Com teams can't shoot straight, you may be caught by friendly fire.

Correction - you _will_ be caught by friendly fire so the Chryssalids don't get you first.

Re:X-what? (1)

splutty (43475) | about 6 years ago | (#24413723)

Obviously written by someone with women on the mind.. I mean.. XXX and then they're talking about 38B, 37B and 40A.

What's more obvious!

Admittedly though, I think 40A would be the average man and not a woman.. But hey, nowadays everything's possible.

Re:X-what? (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | about 6 years ago | (#24414017)

If it was aimed at women, I'd think that they would have named it 'Tarzan' or something along those lines. :')

Re:X-what? (2, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24413925)

TFA says the X-40 was the predecessor to the X-37. I'm guessing X-38 was a typo (I know, hard to beleive a /. summary would have a mistake). The X designation is for experimental. Other aircraft receive a letter designation for its role once it goes into production: F for fighter, B for bomber, etc. Maybe this will be the S-37 (space) or O-37 (orbital)?

Re:X-what? (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 6 years ago | (#24414329)

Doubt it will be O since that is used for Observation.

Re:X-what? (1)

der_joachim (590045) | about 6 years ago | (#24414959)

IIRC, S stands for 'sub hunting' (like the Lockheed S3 Viking).

BTW: from orbit you can observe a lot, you know. ;-)

Too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413633)

Military Space Tests. (2, Insightful)

MrKane (804219) | about 6 years ago | (#24413713)

Although there's not much content to TFA,
it is an interesting subject.

Personally I'm not keen to see a militarisation of "Space",
but the technologies that are almost
certain to spring from such areas will surely
feed back into civilian areas.

Besides, it might just be too expensive and
morally difficult (to convince any electorate)
in order to make any serious claims to "Space Ownership"
by any military power.

ps. I'm not trying to fuel the trolls here, just trying to anticipate them ;?)

Re:Military Space Tests. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414803)

Who the fuck are you, e.e. cummings? What the hell is with that formatting?

just to point out... (1)

ruffles321 (1023357) | about 6 years ago | (#24413759)

X-37B not X-38B (there propably is a difference... whatever)

X-38B? (1)

Caboosian (1096069) | about 6 years ago | (#24413783)

The summary refers to the plane as the X-38B, and the article refers to it as the X-37B multiple times. The plane is the X-37B according to NASA's PDF [nasa.gov] . I just want to know how the subby changed a 7 to an 8 with copy/paste.

Re:X-38B? (1)

Caboosian (1096069) | about 6 years ago | (#24413809)

I'm an idiot. I quickly googled for a NASA confirmation of the name, found the pdf, linked it, posted it, opened it, and checked the date. May 2003. Well... At least the name's right.

Militarization of space ? (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 6 years ago | (#24413793)

Isn't there an international treaty signed by US and Russia against this ? Is that the start of a new race ?

Re:Militarization of space ? (5, Insightful)

Sqityl (1101379) | about 6 years ago | (#24413831)

Isn't there an international treaty signed by US and Russia against this ? Is that the start of a new race ?

You'd be referring to the Outer Space treaty [wikipedia.org] , right? Well, it doesn't actually block the militarization of space, just the placement of weapons of mass destruction. So long as they don't fill this thing with nukes they should be fine. While I'm an outright pacifist, it is good to see actual progress in space travel, perhaps the discoveries made by engineering this spaceplane will advance more peaceful spacecraft in the future.

Re:Militarization of space ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414247)

I wish nations would finally grasp that an arms race is ultimately at best a zero sum game.

Now that the world has de-facto reached the pax atomia age, nations should realize that this is as much stability they can expect. Any further weapons developement ("peace forces" nonwithstanding) only intends to break this lucky stalemate. And war is space will make atmosphere based weapons look cheap. If this turns into a real arms race it will no longer be states having a military, but the military having a state. And when asked to justify that, they just have to point to the "other power(s)" who do just the same. A "2084" if you will.
I am sure if you look at this problem from a game theoretical[1] point of view this is where one should stop trying to "win" and leave with what you have.

And I just don't buy the "War is good for technology thing". It is funds that limit developement of whatever, not a sudden patriotic zeal in your scientists working harder for victory.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

Re:Militarization of space ? (2, Informative)

d_strand (674412) | about 6 years ago | (#24413843)

The treaty relates to weapons in space, not military transports. Anyway, USA and Russia dont exactly have a history of following treaties they have signed.

Re:Militarization of space ? (4, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 years ago | (#24414137)

The treaty that you speak of was signed by the Soviet Union, NOT Russia. As hard as it is to believe, those two political organizations have almost nothing in common.

Re:Militarization of space ? (1)

d_strand (674412) | about 6 years ago | (#24414363)

You are correct. However since the soviet union no longer exists i choose to say Russia instead since it is currently the closest political equivalent.

Re:Militarization of space ? (1)

Larryish (1215510) | about 6 years ago | (#24414509)

In Soviet Russia, the treaty signs YOU!

Scary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413803)

Something tells me you people would rather blow up the Earth than give up your position on it and I'm not joking.

Cost? (1)

minhlish (1336351) | about 6 years ago | (#24413839)

Didn't read TFA but what was the estimated cost? With inflation adjusted?

Save the cheerleader, save the world... (1)

vorlich (972710) | about 6 years ago | (#24413877)

Obviously that will be the price of freedom! Even with inflation adjustment the price will remain constant.

talk about hitting a fly with a sledgehammer (0, Flamebait)

ionix5891 (1228718) | about 6 years ago | (#24413857)

in this "war of terror"

So how many... (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24413901)

UFO sightings does this explain? Military planes take 20 or more years of testing, and TFA says they've flowin it before. So how many times did someone in the Southwest spot one and say, "That ain't no plane. It's movin way too fast!"

Re:So how many... (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 6 years ago | (#24413947)

If my memory serves me, they've flown this thing in atmosphere, but not orbital yet. Kinda like how Enterprise flew from the back of a 747 (to test approach and landing) before the other orbiters flew in space.

Re:So how many... (3, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24413977)

Kinda like how Enterprise flew from the back of a 747

They flew an AIRCRAFT CARRIER on the back of a 747? How did I miss that?

Re:So how many... (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | about 6 years ago | (#24414013)

Yeah, and they had a 747 on the aircraft carrier!

(Karma? Who needs it?)

Re:So how many... (1)

rarel (697734) | about 6 years ago | (#24414021)

The pilots were blindfolded. If they can't see you, you can't see them. Easy!

Re:So how many... (1)

cnettel (836611) | about 6 years ago | (#24414037)

Not the USS Enterprise, but the OV-101 Enterprise.

Re:So how many... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24414633)

The problem with UFO sightings is that they don't just go fast, they do what nothing we know of can do, i.e. fly at 70 knots, accelerate for a few seconds to 9 G to reach 600 knots and go up 10,000 feet, that kind of stuff... Besides, UFO sightings didn't exactly start 20 years ago.

starwars, here we come (-1, Flamebait)

ezh (707373) | about 6 years ago | (#24413979)

So they take military back to space - something that USSR and USA has mutually agreed not to do. It looks like 'hawks' broke yet another agreement, provoking new form of arms race - space arms race. It just proves how much these 'agreements' are worth. Good luck, U.S. - I hope your economy can take it. Your friends in 'Space Halliburton' will take good care of you!

Re:starwars, here we come (-1, Flamebait)

Detritus (11846) | about 6 years ago | (#24414001)

Why confuse yourself with the facts? Ignorance is strength!

I need the work you insensitive clod! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414093)

So they take military back to space - something that USSR and USA has mutually agreed not to do. It looks like 'hawks' broke yet another agreement, provoking new form of arms race - space arms race. It just proves how much these 'agreements' are worth. Good luck, U.S. - I hope your economy can take it. Your friends in 'Space Halliburton' will take good care of you!

My town needs the work building that stuff since the peaceful manufacturing and services have gone to China and Mexico.

Eisenhower's grave seen smoking from the friction from the spinning (Military Industrial Complex - we need it now.)

Military Men and Google (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413985)

Hmmm. Interesting google adsense for this article

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Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24413999)

Time to shoot the aliens I guess. -- My google notebook [google.com]

America, FUCK YEAH (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414063)

The quicker we have a military presence in space, the better.

Who dares, wins, first mover advantage, etc etc.

USA USA USA

Oh dear god, Obama might be right! (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24414091)

I'm pretty much a hardcore Republican that thinks Obama is a sort of Pharonic anti-christ, but, Obama's criticisms of NASA suddenly stand in stark relief when we suddenly see that the USAF is actually building a credible spaceplane and NASA, in its Constellation program, is admitting that it can't do it. Sure, one might argue that NASA is strapped for funds, but I like how the USAF had no problem turning to White Knight to test its stuff out rather than NIH'ing the whole program. Maybe we -do- need to kill NASA's manned space flight program.

Re:Oh dear god, Obama might be right! (4, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 6 years ago | (#24414199)

You have to remember, the military has a mission they're focused on and want to get the tools they need to complete. NASA's mission for the most part seems to be making sure they keep their budget. Not saying that military contracting is a paragon of efficiency, but generally having a defined goal that everyone believes in helps a lot to keep you on track.

Re:Oh dear god, Obama might be right! (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24414335)

I mean, I'm just shocked that NASA threw in the towel on space planes, and the USAF is flying one. I'm just completely shocked.

Re:Oh dear god, Obama might be right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24414379)

I'm pretty much a hardcore Republican that thinks Obama is a sort of Pharonic anti-christ

So, basically you're a racist idiot? Knuckles drag on the ground, do they?

Re:Oh dear god, Obama might be right! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24414877)

Maybe we -do- need to kill NASA's manned space flight program.

Hallelujah, well, mostly. Of course we probably want to keep people in orbit and what not, but at least $100 billion to go back to the moon is plain silly and pointless. That was just the clueless Bush administration's space pissing contest and that thing needs to get killed badly, although a launcher that can get at least as much into orbit as the Saturn V is a great thing.

I wouldn't be surprised if the motivation behind that plan was to send American men to the Moon so they could flip off the far side of the Earth all at once.

Way to win asymmetric warfare (2, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | about 6 years ago | (#24414189)

OK, your troops are fighting a guerilla war (actually several guerilla wars) against low-tech terrorist cells. Bugger flack jackets and armored vehicles (or better yet, 'educational' aid to Africa to head off the next generation of extremists), you need space superiority.

Re:Way to win asymmetric warfare (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24414731)

Exactly, we're fighting a guerilla warfare, so what could possibly be the use of remaining the top dogs? Let's just wait until the Chinese get the upper hand on that whole "space" thing to worry about catching up with them. By all means let's make R&D policies based on short/mid-term concerns. If something isn't going to be useful to alleviate our concerns of the hour within the next few years then it's clearly a waste of time and money.

checklist (5, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | about 6 years ago | (#24414203)

Ion engines: No
Laser cannons: No
Photon torpedos: No
Shields: No
Warpcore/hyperspace drive: No
Matter/antimatter reactor: No
Transporters: No
Long Range Scanner: No
Sort Range sensors: Yes
Space capabilities: Kind of.

Buyers advice:

This space fighter doesn't have any of the selling features of other space fighters on the market. The lack of ion engines make this a very dated craft. It is more appropriate for a museum than the space age. Buyers are adviced to look into more complete craft like the X-wing or the TIE-advance. This craft makes the old and very well known to be unsafe TIE-fighter look good.

Re:checklist (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 6 years ago | (#24414297)

This landing-pod doesn't have any of the selling features of other landing-pod's on the market.
This craft makes the old and very well known to be unsafe Quake landing-pod look good.

Orbital portion of male anatomy (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 6 years ago | (#24414237)

I will probably get modded troll or flamebait - but what conceivable real strategic benefit is there from this thing? It just seems to be a case of USAF/Boeing willy waggling. In case you hadn't noticed, NASA builds stuff that works, and does some real research. Notice how we have gone in a few years from "is there water on Mars?" to "how much water is there on Mars?" - a huge paradigm shift - as a result of work by NASA and the ESA. Meanwhile this project basically does nothing but ask "can we go really really fast with a winged vehicle?". One is R&D which tells us more about the Universe and, ultimately, about our own origins and destiny: the other is NASCAR without wheels.

Re:Orbital portion of male anatomy (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 years ago | (#24414273)

but what conceivable real strategic benefit is there from this thing?

The Terrorists(tm) are going to love it. Think of all the money that doesn't go towards effective means of fighting them.

Re:Orbital portion of male anatomy (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24414679)

Right, because what could we possibly use in the future of a plane that can be launched to space and come back to Earth when the Shuttle is about to be retired? Oh wait..

Except that it isn't (2, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 6 years ago | (#24414791)

Something that has to be launched from an Atlas missile, has no docking facilities, no cargo space...this will replace the Shuttle how,exactly?

Re:Except that it isn't (2, Insightful)

RocketJeff (46275) | about 6 years ago | (#24415037)

Something that has to be launched from an Atlas missile, has no docking facilities, no cargo space...this will replace the Shuttle how,exactly?

Because it's a experimental aircraft (hence the 'X' designation). Rather then trying to do everything at once, without testing all of the concepts out, they're refining one piece of the technology at a time.

It's a rather sensible approach - unlike NASA's Space Shuttle which tried to go from the drawing board to production with no real test vehicles for its new technology (very large engines that could be throttled, reusable/segmented solid boosters, etc). NASA tried paper-engineering the shuttle and it didn't live up to most of its design goals.

Re:Except that it isn't (3, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 years ago | (#24415043)

Yup, you're right. I mean, what kind of idiots would use existing facilities just to fly an incomplete vehicle to test minor characteristics such as its "flying features in space and during atmospheric reentry". Everyone KNOWS that the correct way to do it is to build the complete system first, right down to the leather seats, and THEN see if any of your assumptions about flight characteristics are correct.

Project Bluebeam (1)

drsmall17 (1240792) | about 6 years ago | (#24414351)

There are no aliens. Only the one's the government will be creating for Project Bluebeam and the NWO. Having military in space is all part of their big plan.

Can we just like unpublish this post? (4, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 6 years ago | (#24414549)

Or at least replace it with one thats even remotely accurate?

1) They didnt even get the RIGHT CRAFT.

2) There never was EVER a secret military shuttle... there where plans to make military shuttles, but they where hardly secret and never made it past the drawing board AS a military project. You could say some of their ideas went into the STS, but then thats hardly a secret.

This isnt even technically a shuttle... its a test bed system which is something NASA and the military have launched multiple times.. again technically the Air Force can not even launch the thing as a military object, it would go against the treaties in place and while I do not put it past our current government, they likely will not be in power when this thing is supposed to be tested and certainly if it get the green light for production.

Special thanks go out to... (3, Funny)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about 6 years ago | (#24414747)

Art Bell, our guest editor for the day. Art Bell ladies and gentlemen! Let's give him a big round of applause!

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