American X-37B unmanned space flight returning from seven months (Figure)
Data Figure: U.S. Air Force X-37B unmanned space plane
Morning News reporter Wu Zhihao
According to British media reported on December 1, Air Force a mysterious UAV executed in space more than seven months after the task, the fastest return to the ground tomorrow. Although the U.S. military for its secrecy, but it is widely believed that it is the prototype of future space planes.
U.S. attention from beginning to end secrecy
reported that the Air Force announced on November 30, a reusable X-37B unmanned flight space plane space missions have been completed, scheduled for December 3 to 5 day depending on weather conditions, choose the return to the ground, landing site of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. U.S. Air Force also revealed plans to launch a spring of next year, the same type of aircraft.
April 22, an “Atlas 5″ carrier rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida launch Air Force Base, the X-37B into space. Responsible for monitoring the mission is located in Colorado Springs Air Force Space Command. Since then, the months-long mission period, there have been space enthusiasts observed X-37B’s trail, but the U.S. military have been avoided.
In fact, starting from the launch announcement, the Air Force put the X-37B’s confidential work done. April 22 launch day, the atmosphere of Cape Canaveral when the space shuttle launch and is usually very different, did not come to watch a large number of media and the public, only the Pentagon assigned several reporters to take pictures. Days after the X-37B on the success of the Air Force refused to disclose any details of the mission.
face the public’s curiosity and questions, the Air Force has always stall with a simple answer: “This flight will focus on long-term flight validation, reusable space vehicles necessary technology, which automatically returns and landing techniques. “
However, the American scholar analysis based on available information, the situation is certainly much more complex. From a performance point of view, X-37B has obvious military applications, can be used to verify the “non-cooperative in-orbit rendezvous and docking technology” that “capture the satellite” testing. At the same time, it can test the “satellite orbit and avoid” technology. Thus, many space experts believe, X-37B is actually the prototype of future space planes.
the start of a military color
X-37B’s official name is “track test aircraft,” U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1999 R & D project. The project was originally used for testing the next generation of spacecraft technologies, but later taken over by the U.S. military. In 2004, X-37B project was transferred to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and later to the Air Force Office of Ministry of rapid response capability, the nature of the project by the public underground.
although “people turn army” products, but the British media that, X-37B from the start of a military color. Because it is by the famous Boeing “Phantom Works” hand surgeon. “Phantom Works” is Boeing’s top technology research and development unit, nicknamed the “Phantom Works.” “Phantom Works” participated in virtually all of Boeing’s development of sophisticated airborne platforms, the F-35 has competing against the X-32 “Joint Strike Fighter,” demonstrator, “meat birds” stealth demonstrator, A-160 ” Hummingbird “unmanned aerial vehicles, X-45 unmanned aircraft,” Pelican “… … a large number of unmanned aerial vehicles futuristic weapons design are from the” Phantom Works. ”
to control the strategic high ground of space
British media said, can be seen from the origin, X-37B is most likely to develop in the U.S. no common platform. Currently, the U.S. military has formed a better low, medium and high three-tier system of unmanned platforms. In the lower, mainly relying on “Predator” and other unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned platforms such life more than 20 hours, equipment synthetic aperture radar, infrared detection systems and missiles, the main task of the implementation of tactical reconnaissance and combat; in the middle, “Global Hawk “unmanned reconnaissance spy satellites after the theater reconnaissance platforms, is still in development stage of the U.S. Navy X-47 unmanned attack aircraft is expected to become a theater of combat weapon; at the top, various types of unmanned satellites form the space platform .
low enough to ensure the current strength of the U.S. military, the two unmanned platforms in most cases the security, but at the top platform, the face of increasing international anti-satellite technology, the huge U.S. military The satellite network is becoming more and more fragile. Therefore, some analysts said the U.S. focus on the development of X-37B is probably safe to build a more universal space platform with the ability to avoid anti-satellite weapons, X-37B, hold on strategic high ground of space.
U.S. Air plane Project
● first flight April 7, 2006 (aerial flight)
2010 年April 22 (space flight)
● R & D status of development and testing
● responsibility Fang Meiguo NASA/Defense Advanced
Research Program Bureau (X-37A)
U.S. Air Force (X-37B)
● ownership a
● prototype Boeing X-40
● length of 8.9 m
● wingspan of 4.5 m
● height of 2.9 m
● take-off weight 4.99 t
● engine a rocket engine
● Power source gallium arsenide solar cells and lithium batteries
● payload of 227 kg
● orbit Earth orbit
● speed flight in orbit 28,200 km/h
● Maximum time in orbit 270 days