RE: X37-B story with Jonathan McDowell interview

From: Ted Molczan (ssl3molcz@rogers.com)
Date: Fri Jun 25 2010 - 14:01:32 UTC

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    Brooke Clarke wrote:
    
    > On the web page:
    > http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1723&category=Science
    > they talk about solar panels being used to extend the time on 
    > orbit from 
    > a couple of weeks for the space shuttle to 6 months for the X37-B.
    > But the Wiki page for the X37-B only mentions liquid fuel propulsion.
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-37B
    > How does having solar panels translate into propulsion?
    
    In the context of the method of electrical power generation, "to extend the time on orbit" refers to
    the ability to operate the spacecraft's electrical systems, not its ability to maintain its orbit.
    The Shuttle's use of fuel cells limits the time it can operate in orbit to a couple of weeks;
    X-37B's use of solar cells greatly extends this period.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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