I hope that the enclosed 3-views could be useful to you....antigravite said:Yes, I need to make a model of X-37 but have to prepare the workflow well in advance of other illustrative works I'm sucked in. Antigravite is a advanced art & design studio. More to come soon...
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/aw080408p2.xml&headline=USAF%20To%20Launch%20First%20Spaceplane%20Demonstrator&channel=awstThe mission will use an Atlas V Eastern Range slot that had been reserved for the launch of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. That flight is now slated for February-March 2009 (AW&ST July 28, p. 30).
The first flight of the X-37B, to be launched on top of an Atlas V booster, was originally scheduled for late 2008, but has been postponed serveral times. At the time of this writing, quoted time frames include late 2009 or even 2010.
I'm not sure I see the point of this program. What is it actually demonstrating that's a "hard" enough to justify the expense? Nothing that I can see. Sure, the H2O2/JP engine is nice and all, but not that nice. It's no more useful than a straight expendable launcher for putting something up, and the bring back capability isn't too hot either. It's not made for closure and rendezvous, which rules out a lot of things. There's nothing about it that I can see which would justify an orbital flight test.airrocket said:X-37 shows up piggy back on numerous DOD TSTO hypersonic concepts.
The only thing "significant" I can see is the propulsion system. A throttleable, restartable, storable propulsion system would make some sense if this were an operational vehicle that they planned to keep on orbit a while. I could maybe see this being used to service Orbital Express operational satellites, but why make it reusable?blackstar said:You are not the only one. It is a very confusing program.
Since it's married to an existing expendable launcher, it doesn't really satisfy orbit on demand. The payload is too small to replace any existing critical infrastructure. It doesn't buy you anything over just using an expendable launcher for these scenarios.airrocket said:It gives the air force a reusable spacecraft with a good cross range and the ability to land on a runway. Our current fleet of military support satellites are very vulnerable. We need a quick launch scenario to back-up, replace and repair our obvious inherent weakness...space based technology. This is now our weakest link. Take out our eyes and communication system in the sky and our modern electronic based military is suddenly crippled.
Ok, I'll bite. How is a reusable payload fairing enabling any new capabilities?airrocket said:It gives the air force a reusable spacecraft with a good cross range and the ability to land on a runway. Our current fleet of military support satellites are very vulnerable. We need a quick launch scenario to back-up, replace and repair our obvious inherent weakness...space based technology. This is now our weakest link. Take out our eyes and communication system in the sky and our modern electronic based military is suddenly crippled.
With reusables then indeed all bets are off. You get high flight rate and low cost per kg and then it starts making sense to bring back the satellite. I distinctly remember a DARPA RLV program within the last half year calling industry to submit something, though the specifications for the vehicle concept were overly narrow, but can't seem to locate the news piece...airrocket said:I think one needs to look at the current booster as being available for testing not as the end game plan. I have seen several renderings and studies over the past 10 years mating the X-37 to various first stage TSTO flyback boosters. Having been involved in a subscale DOD related project proposal (didn't make the cut) I can assure you that the air force has future plans that exceed what you are presently seeing in this white world test program. I see the X-37 as a reuseable space vehicle with multi-role capability looking for a booster to complete its intended mission. For the time being this is a way for the air force to acquire funds to keep there little baby alive and kicking.
C/SIC Ruddervatgor (X-37)