Into Space … Boeing X-37B

Autonomous space shuttle launched April 22nd. Boeing’s X-37B, the test craft finally made it into orbit the other day. Formerly a NASA project, passed into DARPA hands in 2004 — and statements like those of the Air Force’s Gary Payton did not provide that much info: “in all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back for sure.” … talk about being in the dark. Also unknown, are the military’s intentions for the unmanned vehicle, which can remain in orbit 270 days at a time. Spy drone?

The success of the mission will depend on a couple things, how the return trip goes and whether the thing can be re-launched quickly enough. Ideally, the craft should be ready for another flight in about fifteen days. Another test is planned for 2011. Still not a lot of information but clearly the new space race is on!!

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