• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV)

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
5,543
Reaction score
3,768
United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches the Sixth Orbital Test Vehicle for the U.S. Space Force

Mission dedicated to front-line responders and those affected by COVID-19

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (May 17, 2020) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

“The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health and safety conditions,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success.”

Along with OTV-6, this mission deployed FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit. The mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food. Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could be transmitted to the ground.

This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket that included a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

ULA’s next launch is NASA’s Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for July 17 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

To date ULA has a track record of 100% mission success with 139 successful launches.

With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com
 

In_A_Dream

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
262
Reaction score
117
I don't understand the fascination with the separation stage of this recent launch. It's not like this is a classified satellite. Amateurs can track the X-37 and always have been able to.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
5,543
Reaction score
3,768
I don't understand the fascination with the separation stage of this recent launch. It's not like this is a classified satellite. Amateurs can track the X-37 and always have been able to.
It’s not even from this launch as they were showing this clip before this mission launched I believe.
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567
Picture of the solar array with earth back beaming HPMW system (small): [@admin : can't upload *.webp* files!].

PRAM consists of a 12-in (30-cm) square tile module with a solar panel and a microwave energy transmitter. Microwaves are used because the idea is to beam energy through Earth's atmosphere, though for other targets, like the Moon, lasers might be applied due to the lack of atmosphere. According to NRL, the goal of the experiment is to study the energy conversion process, thermal performance, and efficiency of the technology.

 

Attachments

  • 200518-n-no204-0001.jpg
    200518-n-no204-0001.jpg
    167.4 KB · Views: 14
Last edited:

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567
Thank you both of you guys. I was on a mobile phone. There was apparently no option to save an image under a new format.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
5,543
Reaction score
3,768
Via NSF. Looks like FalconSat-8 has been deployed.

USA 300
NORAD 45610
NSSDC 2020-029B
Orbit classified
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567
Wonder if that is related:

SpaceNews
Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
by Sandra Erwin — August 13, 2020
1-879x485.jpeg
X-37B spaceplane. Credit: U.S. Space Force
The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B autonomous spaceplane won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for American achievement in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.
The X-37B was one of nine nominees that included NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”
 

FighterJock

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,795
Reaction score
583
Wonder if that is related:

SpaceNews
Air Force X-37B spaceplane wins prized aeronautical award
by Sandra Erwin — August 13, 2020
1-879x485.jpeg
X-37B spaceplane. Credit: U.S. Space Force
The National Aeronautic Association awarded the Boeing X-37B the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B autonomous spaceplane won the 2019 Collier Trophy, awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for American achievement in aviation and space, the NAA announced Aug. 13.
The X-37B was one of nine nominees that included NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft. The NAA said the X-37B won for “developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

Surprised that the Hubble or the Stratolaunch aircraft never got the award instead of the X-37B, because all of the work that the X-37B has done to date has been in total secrecy.
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
14,585
Reaction score
4,312
Almost sounds like the USAF don't see much of a future in store for the Space Force...
 

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,694
Reaction score
1,910
Almost sounds like the USAF don't see much of a future in store for the Space Force...

Might also be that the Space Force doesn't have the infrastructure to support a Rapid Capabilities Office-type activity yet. The Space RCO is part of the larger Air Force RCO and it may depend on the larger AF RCO for administrative and budgetary support for now.
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567

Ronny

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
459
Reaction score
219
X-37B demonstrates Laser beaming from space of harvested solar energy (10W):

I could imagine the amount of energy generated is pathetic
 

coanda

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
196
Reaction score
80
Given the size of the carrying vehicle and the size of the solar arrays it's on the contrary IMO remarkable.
It certainly is. This could be very significant for our energy needs. I believe there was a japanese program looking to do similar.
 

archipeppe

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
1,812
Reaction score
630
Given the size of the carrying vehicle and the size of the solar arrays it's on the contrary IMO remarkable.

This doesn't matter since, if understood well, such test is more a demonstrator of feasibility rather than something operational.
Even if such technology was predicted during early 70's of last century, this one should be the very first time that it finds any application.
 

dan_inbox

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
888
Reaction score
444
And when they scale it up, unless someplace on Earth volunteers to have their sky obscured by a giant solar panel above, it will be the most effective way to _accelerate_ climate warming: just send to Earth the energy of additional Sun rays that otherwise would have missed it.
There must be some way to compute the pretty direct relantion between the additional solar enrgy sent and the additional warming.

This is surely a great idea to power some space artifact like an orbital colony or whatnot, but if the additional energy is sent down, then there will be consequences...
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567
There is no beaming on a solar array inside earth atmosphere. The sun energy is harvested outside of the earth atmosphere on a frequency that is anyway reflected by earth.
Then this photon energy is converted in electricity as it is done with a regular solar array and it's that electricity that is used to beam the energy back on earth through Microwaves (or laser).
 

dan_inbox

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
888
Reaction score
444
The sun energy is harvested outside of the earth atmosphere on a frequency that is anyway reflected by earth.
Then this photon energy is converted in electricity as it is done with a regular solar array and it's that electricity that is used to beam the energy back on earth
Yes, precisely the point that causes more warming: Energy from the Sun that today doesn't make it down into the atmosphere will be inserted into it. The details of the more-or-less circuitous process don't matter. The net result is that Earth atmosphere will in the end receive MORE energy than it did before this harvesting was implemented.

That's simply the most direct way to accelerate global warming.
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
828
Reaction score
450
The total energy produced by the human race is fairly inconsequential compared to the energy capture by the earth from the sun. I suspect the effect of reducing CO2 emissions would be much more pronounced than the competing effect of introducing more energy into the system. But I think the goal here isn't to create a brand new orbital power grid; I don't think that the tech would scale well. I think the military interest is providing relatively small amounts of power to remote bases to reduce the logistical burden of transporting fuel. There obviously would be some applications in orbit as well, though in that case you could put the cells directly on the object you want to power and cut out the inefficiencies of converting electricity to microwaves.
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
2,567
@dan_inbox : It scales fairly well. Having studied the physics behind and especially the means to efficiently repatriate that energy on earth, I am convinced (and said it already) that extraterrestrial energy harvesting would be one of the major industry in Space.
Once we have those orbital routing points, energy would be beamed from several sources (solar, space nuclear, Lunar nuclear and more) and nurture an ecosystem of midpoint space stations and transportation ways.
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
828
Reaction score
450
The energy loss after being transmitted hundreds or thousands of miles I would think would be rather huge. But the reason I think such a system would not scale well is because the entire mass of it would have to be lifted into orbit with current technology. If materials on the moon could be used instead, that would take away the huge energy input of boosting solar cells able to generate gigawatts of power into orbit.
 
Top