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Starship Class
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Footage of X-37B landing. Interesting design. I like the way the wheel covers are hinged well away from the main body. The V-shaped tail rudders must provide some advantage over the single rudder. Not sure why they did it that way.

This is the second mission lasting 15 months, IIRC. The first one from 2010 lasted 7 months in orbit. Both missions were with classified experiments in the cargo hold.

A model kit of this ship is available now from Fantastic Plastic:

http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/X-37B-1-48-CatalogPage.htm
 

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I think the small angled vertical stab's give maximum control surface while exposing the least surface to the hot plasma stream. It's just a guess of course.

The X-20 had 2 small slightly canted vertical stabs on the end of the wings. Moving them to the aft fuselage would seem to add protection during reentry.

Nice video!
 

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Starship Class
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Thanks for the info on the control surfaces! Fascinating!

I wonder what all this ship is capable of.

It is certainly small enough:

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/648970/thumbs/o-X37B-570.jpg?4

The pictures with men standing beside it give an idea of scale. I was thinking it was a little bit bigger. It's more like a very large remote controlled airplane except that it actually goes into space.
 

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You can pack a lot into a small space when you don't have to worry about life support systems and room for a 6 foot tall human to move about, eat, go to the bathroom, etc.
 

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It's not big, but considering that it needs no life support equipment there is a lot of room in there. All the designers needed to put in was a guidance system and propellant/maneuvering systems. The gear is most likely blown down with compressed gas. I would think it needs some manner of solar panels for power with a battery backup. Given the suits worn by the ground crew, it would also suggest a hydrazine APU for power during re-entry.

I would guess it's main job would be reconnaissance with some manner of orbital kill capability on some missions. But that is all just conjecture. The ability to quickly maneuver in orbit would be very useful for strategic recce.

I would also guess that the X-37B would be much more autonomous than a radio controlled vehicle. More a UAV than a drone.

This is of course just guesswork and as such worth absolutely nothing! :)
 
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