What Is Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Drone up To?

The Air Force describes the X-37B as an “orbital test vehicle,” or OTV.

A Dutch skywatcher achieved a rare feat in late June and early July 2019. Using a 10-inch-diameter telescope fitted with a camera, Ralf Vandebergh photographed the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane in mid-mission 210 miles over Earth’s surface.

“We can recognize a bit of the nose, payload bay and tail of this mini-shuttle, with even a sign of some smaller detail,” Vandebergh told Space.com.

Vandebergh had been hunting for the robotic spacecraft for months and finally managed to track it down in May 2019, according to Space.com reporter Leonard David. But it took a few more weeks to actually photograph the roughly 29-feet-long robotic shuttle.

“When I tried to observe it again [in] mid-June, it didn’t meet the predicted time and path,” Vandebergh told David. “It turned out to have maneuvered to another orbit. Thanks to the amateur

... read more at: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/what-air-forces-mysterious-x-37b-space-drone-79121

by

Leave a Reply