Only the Russian S-500 air defense system will be able to fight it;
On the website of Real Time Image Gallery, the Dutch astronomer Ralph Vandeberg published a unique photograph of the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) Boeing X-37, a secret US Air Force spacecraft. According to him, the picture was taken using an Astro-tech 10 F / 4 telescope. Everything that used to appear about this ship in the media was dosed by the Pentagon, so we can talk about rare luck.
- I hunted the OTV-5 (fifth flight of the Boeing X-37) for several months and saw it in May, – writes Ralph Vandeberg.
- When I tried to observe him again in mid-June, it did not correspond to the predicted time and path. It turned out that he was maneuvering in another orbit. … I was able to take some pictures on June 30 and July 2, – the astronomer said that the Boeing X-37 is very small, so, despite the low orbit – only 300 km, the photo does not contain high-resolution details.
Nevertheless, even what can be seen says a lot: the X-37 really looks like two drops of water, like the Space Shuttle – only in miniature. Recall, so called American reusable transport spacecraft, which became the collective grave of two crews. In 2011, NASA was forced to stop its operation.
On the flight of the Boeing shuttle, the Space portal told something. The mission began on September 7, 2017 with the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle from the Cosmodrome them. Kennedy (KSC) in Florida. It is controlled from the Shriver airbase in Colorado by the special 3rd Squadron of the United States Air Force. The main task is, of course, space reconnaissance and the collection of information about other satellites, as well as the testing of new materials and instruments. Overseas media also write that in the event of war, the X-37 will begin to easily and easily destroy enemy satellites, since there are laser weapons on board.
So, Ralph Vandeberg told that the mini-shuttle is actively moving in a vacuum and maneuvering a lot. Boeing X-37 behaves like a full-fledged master of the cosmos. We emphasize that his mission in the framework of OTV-5 has lasted for more than 660 days and, apparently, is still far from completion. If you look at the previous flights, then they are characterized by increasing duration and activity. So, the OTV-1 expedition lasted 224 days – from April 22, 2010 to December 3, 2010, and the OTV-4 lasted 718 days – from May 20, 2015 to May 7, 2017.
Despite the fact that the budget of the X-37B program is classified, some US media claim that they have not spent a lot of money on its development. Not even one billion. In particular, the newspaper The Atlantic told about $ 493 million who allegedly went on to create a combat shuttle, and the company Boeing on this project disinterestedly allocated its $ 67 million.
The publication of The Atlantic led the opinion of an expert of the non-governmental organization Union of Concerned Scientists Laura Grego, who explained that for such ridiculous money the maximum that can be done is a beautiful ship. Its appointment is not to fight, but spectacularly sits on the airfield – to the joy of the Air Force and the patriotic stars and stripes public.
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Yes, he is maneuvering, noted Grego, but this is “more a show of force than a force.” In other words, the USAF wants to look cooler than it actually is. The hint is more than transparent – the main task of the X-37 is to draw the competitors of the Russian Federation and the PRC into the space race. Like, if Boeing would have created something serious, then the Pentagon would have ordered a dozen of such ships from him, and not two, which are available to the 3rd Squadron.
In general, it is ungrateful to judge how objectively the concerned scientists and journalists of America evaluate the OTV program. It is like guessing at the tea leaves. However, the use of the Falcon 9 rocket, not certified for mission-critical US missions, seems to be indirectly confirmed by Grego’s assumption. In addition, a small compartment the size of a truck is hardly intended for long crew missions even from one person. And without a pilot on board, the X-37 space fighter is good only in peacetime, when nothing prevents stable radio communications required for control.
Brian Widen, a former officer of the Air Force and current technical advisor to the Secure World Foundation, writes about this. He is convinced that the mission of the X-37B is to test reconnaissance and spy sensors, especially their resistance to radiation and other negative factors in orbit.
As for the zone of observation, the shuttle almost always moves over Iraq, Iran, Southeast Asia, Pakistan, and also “visits” certain areas of Africa and Latin America. So, at first glance, the X-37B does not threaten Russian. But this is what is alarming. It seems that the Yankees want to lull their potential opponents.
On the other hand, the Pentagon actively financed plans to create an alternative spacecraft capable of hitting targets anywhere in the world for 90 minutes. Could significant money flow from this program to the development of X-37? Theoretically, yes. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to belittle, or even deny, the threat of a Boeing shuttle.
It may have been just a coincidence (anything can happen), but literally a few days before Ralph Vandeberg published a snapshot of the X-37 that caused a lot of noise, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said that “successful preliminary tests allowed the Russian Defense Ministry to decide to reduce the timing of the start of serial deliveries to the troops of the anti-aircraft missile system. As a result, S-500 systems will begin to flow into anti-aircraft missile regiments already in the coming years. ”
It can be safely assumed that not only the Dutch astronomer noticed the extraordinary activity of the American combat shuttle, but also our specialists from the VKS. And although a number of overseas analysts do not highly appreciate the Boeing X-37, they say, this is a “scarecrow for Russians and Chinese,” the one to oppose the US space fighter, including the ship of the company Boeing, in theory, should be just a new anti-aircraft missile system S-500 “Prometheus”.
In the US, they consider that their AN-64 helicopter is stronger than the Ka-52, especially in the mountains.
Judging by the optimism of Borisov, already in the next 2020, the first aerospace defense systems will be able to take up combat duty. As you know, at the beginning of the Prometheus interceptor missiles will be able to hit objects from near space – up to 100 km, and promising ultra-long-range 40N6 missiles will have to destroy objects at an altitude of 200-250 kilometers.
This, of course, is lower than the orbit in which Ralph Vandeberg photographed the Boeing X-37, however, Prometheus will push the American combat shuttle out of the Earth observation comfort zone, and also protect Russian low-orbit reconnaissance satellites. Provided that the stated characteristics are true.
Whatever it was, but the designated specialization of the C-500, focused on the interception of high-altitude targets and objects moving at top speeds, shows that at present the Russian air defense forces lack the necessary capabilities. Speaking directly, today from above – from space – the sky is open over the whole territory of Russia. And this significant gap will have to be closed for a long time. But the American X-37 military shuttle is a reality and is quite capable of entering even the area of Moscow from airless space, bypassing the ground-based echelonable national air defense system.