Friday, April 30, 2010

Back To The Past

On 22 April, 2010 from Cape Canaveral FL, the United States Air Force launched the X-37B unmanned space plane atop an Atlas booster. The mission has been cloaked in secrecy even as the ship orbits the Earth with its cargo doors open. If you read all the possible uses for the X-37 in this article, one has to think of a previous USAF project that was cancelled. The X-37 is being lauded for possibly ushering in the era of quick response time launches. To surprise someone and gather intelligence before the target is aware. How strange this all sounds and how refreshing until one thinks on that previous USAF program. What is this program? It was called the X-20 Dynamic-Soaring program. It would be launched from atop a Titan booster or even a Saturn I into low earth orbit. And it would carry out reconnaissance missions or even hypersonic bombing missions from the edge of the atmosphere. Save omitting the bombing capability and the pilot, is the X-37 really all that removed from the X-20? It's as if Apollo and the Space Shuttle never happened and the USAF is back into building the MOL with the X-20 ferrying the astronauts to it. Or the USAF being able to strike from the edge of space anyone who threatens the security of the United States. Or giving NASA that rescue capability it so desperately needed for Columbia.

I will leave you with some videos, one of David Jensen and Gregory Peck in the Martin Caiden based movie Marooned in which the X-RV, a relative of the X-20, is launched to rescue Ironman One trapped in orbit. Caiden's novel was originally written in 1964 long before the Apollo One fire. Others gives one a behind the scenes look at building the X-20 and what a mission would have looked like if it had been built.

The X-RV launches in the eye of a hurricane from the movie Marooned.

The X-20 carries out a spy mission.

What is the X-20 Part 1 - Official USAF film.

Building the X-20 Part 1 - Official USAF film.

1 comment:

pat said...

Exactly. This is such a strange project. It makes one wonder where the AF is on weapon development, costs containment, and science. It is like these fools are in another world. And i do not not doubt for a minute that a tenth of the techs and brains are working for the ChiComs.