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X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV)

edwest

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Hmmm... My translation reads: This one will carry a bucket and extra arm to grab space debris to be dropped into the onboard module for return to Earth. And this time, we're getting all of what's left.
 

TomcatViP

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I find amazing to see soot marks on the cargo bay doors with its pattern indicating a heating while the bay is open (notice how the junction lip is white and the forward fixed panel is also left unmarked. Notice the shape of the blackened section underlining the flow pattern around the wing strake.

This thing doing rapid flyover at very low orbit (discussed before), it's easy to imagine how aerobraking is conducted with the doors open. A bit mysterious...

Either there is a purpose to that (sensor, energy harvesting...) or they simply don't bother retracting the payload each time.
 
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Flyaway

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Someone has pointed out on NSF that if you look at these new pictures they might cut off just where the new service module starts. Obviously for some reason if this is the case the service module is classified.
 

TomcatViP

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Well, I doubt you can power a micro-UAV directly from space without a drastic loss of energy. The diffraction makes the target too small for the metric size of the beam.
However you can charge a battery through a meter sized retina.
IMOHO energy transfer that way is a thing that will be at the base of our economy in the very next future (and it's sad to see so much money divested into brainless multi-billion € projects that only replicate what the real clever ones did 20 years ago).
 
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shin_getter

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Space based persistent ISR is old hat.

Will beam powered electrical aircraft stack finally break the turbine mafia~
 

Rhinocrates

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While the economics of space-based solar power as envisaged by Gerard O'Neill are uncertain at best, I've often thought that the likeliest/soonest application would be to provide power to remote military bases and expeditions where there is no infrastructure.
 

sferrin

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While the economics of space-based solar power as envisaged by Gerard O'Neill are uncertain at best, I've often thought that the likeliest/soonest application would be to provide power to remote military bases and expeditions where there is no infrastructure.
Elon Musk had a good rant about it several years ago. Basically really inefficient.
 

TomcatViP

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Offset energy production from earth* and beam it back trough space via laser** and then HPMW through earth atmosphere.

* You would start with Lunar nuclear plant
**harvest free energy for space conquest like solar sail ship
 
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Rhinocrates

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Elon Musk had a good rant about it several years ago. Basically really inefficient.
Yeah, inefficient for sure, but superficially it looks like something that would be useful in a crisis where the long-term economics are not a concern, such as a military intervention or disaster relief. Theoretically a sat in a highly inclined orbit that keeps it in permanent sunlight could offer power that could be delivered at short notice for the short term to remote locations where supply lines for conventional fuel might be unreliable. In addition, it could be switched on or off at will. I imagine that come strategists would find the capability appealing if it could be made to work, rather like Lockheed's proposed fusion reactor that fits on a truck. Worth a few pennies for proof of concept at least...
 

sferrin

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Elon Musk had a good rant about it several years ago. Basically really inefficient.
Yeah, inefficient for sure, but superficially it looks like something that would be useful in a crisis where the long-term economics are not a concern, such as a military intervention or disaster relief. Theoretically a sat in a highly inclined orbit that keeps it in permanent sunlight could offer power that could be delivered at short notice for the short term to remote locations where supply lines for conventional fuel might be unreliable. In addition, it could be switched on or off at will. I imagine that come strategists would find the capability appealing if it could be made to work, rather like Lockheed's proposed fusion reactor that fits on a truck. Worth a few pennies for proof of concept at least...

Another concern is what would be the effect were that power beam to be aimed at a city?
 

Josh_TN

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I find amazing to see soot marks on the cargo bay doors with its pattern indicating a heating while the bay is open (notice how the junction lip is white and the forward fixed panel is also left unmarked. Notice the shape of the blackened section underlining the flow pattern around the wing strake.

This thing doing rapid flyover at very low orbit (discussed before), it's easy to imagine how aerobraking is conducted with the doors open. A bit mysterious...

Either there is a purpose to that (sensor, energy harvesting...) or they simply don't bother retracting the payload each time.
Perhaps they need the doors open for continuous power generation during the manuever? Also I've seen people state that it *might* be interacting with the atmosphere from a low point in its orbit, but is the general open source concensus?
 

Grey Havoc

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It indeed could be some form of atmospheric sampling/sensing, especially given how the ground based nuclear test detection networks have turned out to be so heavily compromised by both the Russians and the Chinese.
 

Josh_TN

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I meant more that the vehicle was using the atmosphere to change it's orbit without performing a burn/in addition to a burn to a lower orbit. It would clearly take energy away from the vehicle's orbit but potentially you could make a very hard orbit change, trading time on station/altitude for the benefits of not being where you were expected in the next pass.

It seems unlikely any significant sampling could be achieved at these kind of altitudes; nunclear isotopes are heavy and I would have thought they can drift only so high in the atmosphere even when propelled by explosions.

Off topic, how have nuclear detection sensors been compromised?
 

RanulfC

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Elon Musk had a good rant about it several years ago. Basically really inefficient.
Yeah, inefficient for sure, but superficially it looks like something that would be useful in a crisis where the long-term economics are not a concern, such as a military intervention or disaster relief. Theoretically a sat in a highly inclined orbit that keeps it in permanent sunlight could offer power that could be delivered at short notice for the short term to remote locations where supply lines for conventional fuel might be unreliable. In addition, it could be switched on or off at will. I imagine that come strategists would find the capability appealing if it could be made to work, rather like Lockheed's proposed fusion reactor that fits on a truck. Worth a few pennies for proof of concept at least...

Another concern is what would be the effect were that power beam to be aimed at a city?
Depends on the beam density and focus because after all a laser is just a really, really well focused flashlight :)

Randy
 

Josh_TN

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Ignoring the monochromatic frequency and coherence, yes. :)
 

Flyaway

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Interesting update to that above article.

Bob Christy wrote a very interesting analysis on his Zarya blog, in which he links similar odd jumps in past OTV launch windows to times of close KH-11 passes, the idea being that these KH-11 satellites image the OTV after launch to see whether everything is allright. If that is correct, then this leads to four possible launch times on May 16: 12:24, 13:15, 14:06 and 14:53 UT.
My estimated elsets for these four launch times can be found here.
For more info see the link below.

 
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FighterJock

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Interesting update to that above article.

Bob Christy wrote a very interesting analysis on his Zarya blog, in which he links similar odd jumps in past OTV launch windows to times of close KH-11 passes, the idea being that these KH-11 satellites image the OTV after launch to see whether everything is allright. If that is correct, then this leads to four possible launch times on May 16: 12:24, 13:15, 14:06 and 14:53 UT.
My estimated elsets for these four launch times can be found here.
For more info see the link below.

Any idea if the launch is going to be streamed live on the net Flyaway?
 

sferrin

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Last I heard only 40% chance of launch due to weather. :(
Trust the weather to go bad, oh well lets hope the delay is not to long.
IIRC last time there were two launches back to back both got delayed. I'm guessing the same here. (Because two going off without a hitch would be too cool.)
 

TomS

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So what time will the launch be for us living in the UK? considering that it is British Summer Time now.
UTC given in the tweet is the same as GMT. The BST to GMT offset I'll leave to you.
 
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