June 16 experimental spaceplane U.S. Air Force X-37B after more than 15 months of free flight in near-Earth orbits makes a successful landing in automatic mode at the airbase USAF "Vandenberg" California. Its command and made an official statement about the successful completion of this mission UAV.
X-37B was launched by rocket "Atlas 5" from Cape Canaveral, Florida March 5, 2011. All the information about the devices installed on board spaceplane, including the contents of its cargo bay, the Pentagon keeps a closely guarded secret. Initially it was assumed that the unit will circle the Earth for nine months.
entire flight and landing in California were in automatic mode and, according to experts, have been extremely successful. Only after touching the runway airbase tire shattered one of the landing gear wheels, but in general, the device was not injured. This expedition is the second bill for kosmoplanov X-37B. The first device of this type went into near-Earth space in 2010. Then the duration of the mission was 225 days. Both flights were shrouded in secrecy.
According to repeated statements by U.S. officials flotilla kosmoplanov need for one -try breakthrough innovation achievements.
Several foreign experts see the X-37B prototype of future space interceptor that allows to inspect and, if necessary, disable enemy spacecraft into orbit the Earth, and, moreover, it is possible to put out air strikes against targets on the surface of the planet. Pentagon denies such intentions, reassuring, as previously mentioned Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the spaceplane that -just a platform for testing new technologies.
U.S. Air Force are preparing again to send the near-Earth space is the first device of the X-37B, been there two years ago. He is expected to kick off from Cape Canaveral, "at some point in the fall" of 2012, as planned. The exact launch date spaceplane Command airbase "Vandenberg" is not called.
Gen. Shelton argues that the Pentagon at this stage, no plans, nor the financial resources "to increase the fleet" vehicles X-37B. However, the chief of the Space Command skillfully evaded the question of interest to many experts: Did the U.S. Defense Department now has only two such "aircraft"? As explained by the military commander, he is not sure that information on the number kosmoplanov not imposed marked "Confidential".
Russian experts in the field of space technology disagreed as to "what was that?" quote a phrase from domestic cinematic neoclassical uttered hero magnificent actor Alexei Buldakova, with respect to X-37B. One of my buddies, who worked many years at the highest levels in the industry, deplored the fact that " we have virtually no projects aimed at ensuring the security of the country, such as the X-37B ".
" They new version has already gone, and we have to create a heavy launch vehicles, radars, repeaters -there simply is not enough money, if we leave everything as it is , -said the man . - But we have people who can invest in the space program. If there is a desire on the part of the state, we can attract them ".
He believes that a detailed analysis of the draft Concept of the Russian Space 2030 shows that there is, unfortunately, there are some major conceptual gaps. " Seems that to use it in its current form as a tool that can fix the long-term priorities of national astronautics impractical ", -the expert believes. For example, in the document, in his opinion, there are no detailed elaborations on the following areas of development:
1. According to meteorological support space systems, topogeodesy, data relay opto-electronic, radar surveillance and control of space conditions.
2. At launch vehicles: little attention boosters light and middle class, and variations based than are successful in other countries. We usually compare ourselves with NASA. There is not just the prospect of considering, and already really fly -such as X-37B.
Another interviewee thinks otherwise. According to him, all the military objectives that could stand in front of the X-37B: Inspection intercept, capture, mixing with the orbits of "unfriendly" space objects, as well as attacks from space to Earth, solved already existing systems, long-past summer development tests. " Besides specialization space means long shown its higher efficiency compared with multifunction systems ", -said the expert.
"On the last point the most intimate way looks" efficiency "X-37B as the impactor means -ironically it. -His place in orbit rocket "Atlas 5" standard prelaunch preparation cycle of not less than one and a half months. Other means of launching X-37B in the short term is not visible ".
"In this regard, we can assume two hypotheses and the causes of this project," -says the expert. First -optimistic: after the shuttles to "resign" Americans want to keep the technology of winged reusable spacecraft.
"All the years of experience shows that the opinion about the possibility of returning to the life of any project when only one paper documentation is not tenable, -says the source. -Example of the same Great Britain shows that there is nothing easier to abandon the available technologies in the field of space launches can not help but recall the prematurely deceased booster "Rus", but very hard to get them back ".
"And given the current problems with the budget of NASA, it seems logical to shift the burden of maintaining a strategically important technologies in the" hot "state of war on the shoulders of uncomplaining," -said the expert.
second option -pessimistic. "We are dealing only with the next prototype of the U.S. agency DARPA creativity that since the invention of the Internet has become famous more expensive and stillborn projects simultaneously, rather than finished weapons systems -believes the source. -It is possible that in this case we can only deal with a saw cut dough American-designed to help large corporations contain expensive specialist staff and existing infrastructure and simply survive the crisis nobody canceled ".
Another version of the expert -the veil of secrecy surrounding the X-37B may be used to direct competitors, notably Russia and China, on the wrong path. " Suffice it to recall the history of the Americans lobbied reverse geometry fighter wing , -the expert reminded. - Way, the ubiquitous Chinese seems to have swallowed or pretended fell for technological hornblende Americans. The main thing now -do not respond to another Trojan horse of the United States ".
/ Alexei Mikhailov, vpk-news.ru /