It is known as the X37B. It is an unmanned space craft intended to demonstrate reusable space technologies, but most of the details about its maiden voyage and overall purpose is a well-kept secret.
What is known is the fact that the X37B is the most advanced space craft to date. Department of Defense officials claim this craft is just an “updated version of the Space Shuttle.” However, this is not exactly true.
The X37B touts a wide range of new technologies. One of which is a new generation of silica tile. The tiles are used in the Thermal Protection System that protects the craft during re-entry.
Yet, the most impressive feature of this “updated shuttle” is its ability to stay in orbit for 270 days. That is quite an improvement over its predecessor, which can only sustain a 16-day orbit.
The secrecy surrounding the X37B and its first mission has aroused suspicions and ignited a flurry of rumors. These suspicions and rumors all revolve around the theory that the X37B is a highly advanced spy plane or the first U.S. attempt to achieve military domination in space.
Many proponents of the spy theory point to the fact that it has the potential to launch a large payload of small satellites. During periods of high international tension, this would enable the Department of Defense to have eyes and ears orbiting above any potential threat in the world.
Many countries question if this is the first step in American militarization of space. The China Daily newspaper went as far to write that the X37B could initiate an arms race in space.
Though the Department of Defense adamantly denies the X37B’s mission supports any development of space-based weapons. Another launch of the X37B is scheduled for spring 2011. As of now, there are not many details being reported about this launch either. However, it is possible that the X37B will usher in a modern-day space race.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com