Latest in Air force

Image credit:

Boeing X-37B autonomous space shuttle launched last night, due back 'whenevs'

Joseph L. Flatley
April 23, 2010
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Boeing's X-37B, the test craft that's been kicking around for the last decade or so, has finally made it into orbit. Formerly a NASA project, we've heard little about the thing since it passed into DARPA hands in 2004 -- and statements like those of the Air Force's Gary Payton don't help much: "in all honesty, we don't know when it's coming back for sure." How's that for autonomous? Also uncommented upon, yet tantalizing, are the military's intentions for the unmanned vehicle, which can remain in orbit 270 days at a time. Spy drone? Orbital weapons platform? Plaything for our future robot overlords? (Let's hope it's not the last one.) The success of the mission will depend on a couple things, namely: how the return trip goes (it should make it back to California's Vandenberg Air Force Base via autopilot... sometime) and whether the thing can be re-launched quickly enough. Ideally, the craft should be ready for another flight in fifteen days. Another test is planned for 2011.

[Thanks, One Love!]



All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Joe Biden's presidential transition launches with BuildBackBetter.gov

Joe Biden's presidential transition launches with BuildBackBetter.gov

View
Curiosity rover finds evidence of ancient megafloods on Mars

Curiosity rover finds evidence of ancient megafloods on Mars

View
A copy of ‘Super Mario Bros. 3’ sold for $156,000

A copy of ‘Super Mario Bros. 3’ sold for $156,000

View
GM pulls out of Trump administration's fuel emissions lawsuit in California

GM pulls out of Trump administration's fuel emissions lawsuit in California

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr