Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Boeing Moving X-37B Operations To the Kennedy Space Center

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the so-they-can-hang-out-with-the-spacex-guys dept.

NASA 35

schwit1 writes "A spy plane used by the U.S. Air Force is about to get a new home: a garage at Kennedy Space Center that once housed NASA orbiters during the space shuttle era. The move was announced Friday by Boeing, the Chicago-based company that built the X-37B orbital test vehicle and is in charge of repairing the spacecraft whenever it returns to Earth. Previously, Boeing had refurbished the 29-foot-long spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but the company decided to relocate its fix-up shop in Florida, where the vehicle now launches."

cancel ×

35 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

manned cabin (5, Informative)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 7 months ago | (#45863909)

since Boeing showed these [space.com] 2 years ago, I'm sure the retrofit is ready by now. The Air Force will never give up their backdoor access to space. This picture [nasaspaceflight.com] here is about all I can find...but if they drew out plans like that then the Air Force probably has it built already.

Re:manned cabin (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#45863981)

I guess every US gov't department is interesting in backdooring whatever/whomever they can...

Re:manned cabin (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45864451)

Maybe that's why so many government officials are against gay marriage... they don't want to be tied down to backdooring only one thing for the rest of their life.

Re:manned cabin (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 7 months ago | (#45864515)

I guess every US gov't department is interesting in backdooring whatever/whomever they can...

Hell, the IRS 'backdoors' me every April.

Fixed link (1)

gentryx (759438) | about 7 months ago | (#45864521)

...to the second picture [nasaspaceflight.com] .

Re:Fixed link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45865043)

That picture looks like NASA is picking up the tab for the design phase of the next Six Flags ride.

Re:manned cabin (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 7 months ago | (#45866399)

The USAF would have wanted that even when the Shuttles were in operation.

Kennedy is situated near the equator (28 degrees latitude) to take advantage of the additional velocity of the Earth's rotation in an Eastward launch. This reduces the delta-v you need to achieve orbit, meaning less fuel, less cost, and more payload. Unfortunately launching to the East limits you to equatorial orbits which pass over only about the middle +/- 28-62 degrees of latitude. That's good enough coverage of the Earth's surface for most purposes, but not all.

Most spy satellites and Earth-monitoring satellites (like Landsat) launch from Vandenberg AFB [wikipedia.org] in California. Launches there are to the South, yielding the high orbital inclination (polar orbit) needed to cover most or all of the Earth's surface. The original plan for the Shuttle was for occasional launches from Vandenberg. The USAF even spent a huge amount of money outfitting one of Vandenberg's launch sites for the Shuttle [wikipedia.org] . After the Challenger disaster, the site was reassessed and plans to launch the Shuttle from there were canceled. The USAF still had (has) no way to put a manned mission into polar orbit.

I wish they wouldn't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45863919)

Why can't we just demilitarize NASA. The military already has their own Space Command, so why do they have to fuck with NASA as well?

Re:I wish they wouldn't (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#45863957)

Why can't we just demilitarize NASA. The military already has their own Space Command, so why do they have to fuck with NASA as well?

Why do dogs piss on trees? Or XBL kiddies teabag corpses in Halo?

Because winning just isn't as much fun if you don't mark your territory.

Re:I wish they wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45864295)

>> Why can't we just demilitarize NASA. The military already has their own Space Command

With the deprecation of Shuttle, it was all hands on deck to replace the capability spread among all budgets. The X-47C is the evolution of that effort, replacing all but the heavy lift capability, which is now done unmanned.

Re:I wish they wouldn't (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#45864627)

NASA has been a branch of the military from its inception. What do you think was the purpose of all those "scientific experiments" they conducted back in the '50s and '60s?

Re:I wish they wouldn't (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 7 months ago | (#45866351)

Billing the Air Force for use of available facilities transfers some of the military space budget back to civilian agencies. Remember, the military space budget is larger than NASA's so NASA could probably use the money.

too many $ (-1, Flamebait)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 7 months ago | (#45863925)

...presumably it is too expensive to do long term physical operations in the People's Republic of Kalifornia as well as favoring different orbital paths.

Re:too many $ (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#45863967)

...presumably it is too expensive to do long term physical operations in the People's Republic of Kalifornia as well as favoring different orbital paths.

I wouldn't choose the state if I were siting a garment plant or a toxin smelter; but do you imagine that there is a particularly large cost delta for a corporation that can probably book just about anything in almost any state or several overseas offices if the tax accountant says to, running an operation involving a relatively small number of skilled specialists (presumably with fairly robust clearances, even if they are just screwdriver peons, given the secrecy surrounding the details of the project)?

Re:too many $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45864721)

Yes, the environmental permitting makes using a rattle can on federal lands in California a state crime. Seriously. If you have an emissions permit, and you improperly use a spray can, you're liable for fines and criminal penalties. Fuck that.

But this is the military.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45867605)

They can and do ignore state laws at will.

Re:too many $ (3, Interesting)

phrostie (121428) | about 7 months ago | (#45864915)

my guess would be they are going for the lower latitudes.
launching from higher latitudes requires more fuel for the same orbit.
so either they are lifting a heavier load or going for a higher orbit.

to move just to save money would be totally out of character for the U.S. Gov.

Re:too many $ (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45866021)

I am not sure if that is true.

IIRC, most of the spy satellites uses a polar orbit, where latitude makes less of a difference.

US Lost the space race (2)

BlazingATrail (3112385) | about 7 months ago | (#45864057)

It's sadly ironic that the US only use for NASA facilities and repurposed X-37B is for spying on people and weaponizing space. Some may say bloated NASA needed to be put out of its misery, but surely the government could contribute more to useful science and exploration privately, than more ways to fund military or NSA to control its citizens.

Re:US Lost the space race (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#45864487)

There has been no impetus for a 'space race' since the bottom fell out of the now defunct Russian Empire.

The recent off-planet excursions by the Chinese may be viable threat enough to restart one though, he said hopefully.

It is unfortunate that governments/nations are unable to advance space exploration without perceived military benefit, but that's just the way of it presently.

Re:US Lost the space race (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#45864647)

The US is so far ahead of anyone else in space that there is no longer a race being run. What other country could make a soft landing on one of Saturn's moons? How many other countries have rovers exploring Mars? Who else sent a probe out of the Solar System into interstellar space?

Re:US Lost the space race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45865005)

The Us lost the race to the Chinese when they went to the moon. They have the ability to tap our research, by all the stolen hard drives, supposedly. By the research scientists, foreign nationals born, raised and trained in their country, working in our top secret labs, in the us, and have the ability to steal the hardware?, why not just ship the job there? Oh, shucks, bush helped there also, a continuation of the Nixon policies, of killing America...But the big businesses in America assisted by shipping their research facilities to Hong Kong, and further to the mainland, so how are we safer? by becoming a 3rd world country again? They have the high ground? Damn, bug bombs...

Re:US Lost the space race (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45865191)

Good point. Currently, space exploration is - or should be - more about science than a race.

I have a friend who works as a scientist for NASA, and he has made the point that there is very little "science" to be gleaned from the manned exploration of space, e.g. "the space race". Basically, the unmanned probes and robots can gather data at a much lower cost. Manned exploration like moon landings and space stations may capture the public imagination, and thus lead to funding (even in China), but they just aren't cost-effective from a science point of view. There's no need to run that race anymore.

The idea of sending humans to Mars is a great example. It would be hugely expensive, yet wouldn't yield any data that rovers couldn't provide. (If we really want to find out if humans can survive on Mars, maybe we should just build a simulated Mars dome here on Earth at a fraction of the cost. Heck, maybe we could even resurrect the old "Mission to Mars" ride at Disneyworld.) So, if the Chinese eventually run and win the "race" to land humans on Mars, let them waste their money.

Re:US Lost the space race (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#45865419)

Currently, space exploration is - or should be - more about science than a race.

Space exploration should be about enabling future activities in space.

Re:US Lost the space race (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 7 months ago | (#45866717)

Which activities? We won't know what's worthwhile without doing the science.

Remember, it's Ready, Aim, Fire.

In that order.

Re:US Lost the space race (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#45871141)

Which activities? We won't know what's worthwhile without doing the science.

I agree. But we can also do science that doesn't help us. For example, most funding for onsite Mars research is actually spent on technology development that will probably only be used for a few Mars vehicles.

Re:US Lost the space race (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 7 months ago | (#45865273)

The US won the space race, but they're losing the space marathon.

"Space Shuttle Era"? (3, Insightful)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | about 7 months ago | (#45864529)

I know how much was wrong with the shuttle program, but I still get depressed every time I hear it referred to in the past tense.

Re:"Space Shuttle Era"? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#45864623)

Oblig. xkcd [xkcd.com]

Re:"Space Shuttle Era"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45865485)

Don't worry. The chinese are poised to continue where NASA left off.

Of course that's still a kick in the ol' national pride thing if you're not chinese.

Re:"Space Shuttle Era"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45865633)

lighten up. The Shuttle was a transport vehicle to LEO. What NASA needs to be working on is an interplanetary craft that we keep in space and travel from LEO/ISS out to destinations around the Earth and Moon. Slap a capsule on a SpaceX rocket for going to from LEO.

Re:"Space Shuttle Era"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45865799)

Slap a capsule on a SpaceX rocket for going to from LEO.

You mean the Dragon [spacex.com] ?

Elon's got ya covered.

Hanger! you fucking foreigners! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45867511)

A garage is what you take out each night.

Is this what used to be known as the LAB (1)

stox (131684) | about 7 months ago | (#45867585)

ie. Launch Assembly Building for the Apollo's?

Spy Plane? (1)

brunnegd (1707568) | about 7 months ago | (#45872237)

Since the AF has not said what the X -37 is doing, there is no way to establish that the vehicle is spying or performing other missions.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>