Re: X-37B OTV-1 Found in Orbit

From: William Blair (
Date: Sun May 23 2010 - 13:49:30 UTC

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "X37 B located"

    Great job!  The launch of X-37B is was what brought me back into this hobby which I'd originally been involved with mostly because of the ability it gave me to see very interesting satellites I wasn't supposed to be seeing.  Of course, many of the civilian satellites were also interesting due to their flares, flashing, etc.
    > The ground track repeats almost exactly after 61 revs,
    > which takes about 4 days. Ground tracks that repeat at
    > 2, 3 or 4 day intervals have been a common feature of
    > U.S. imaging reconnaissance satellites, so this finding
    > could be a clue as to the mission.
    The launch of X-37B was being discussed on my local RC aircraft club's mailing list on 24 Apr 10.  After researching the craft to find as much information as I could about the mission and using that to surmise the sort of mission that would justify the creation of a relatively small, reusable vehicle with a modest payload, I posted this that same day.  Perhaps I guessed correctly:
    By the way, my best guess as to what the X-37B was primarily designed for would be that it is a reusable vehicle for the servicing of future or, perhaps, even current low orbit reconnaissance/military satellites, replenishing their orbital maneuvering fuel and carrying out, perhaps via human telepresence robotics, something that is entirely practical in earth orbit with current technology, the removal/replacement of satellite modules designed to be serviced in this fashion.
    The on-orbit replenishment of recon sat maneuvering fuel would eliminate the current need to severely restrict their target lists in order to extend the service life of these hugely expensive behemoths.  Currently, as far as I know, once their maneuvering fuel is expended, that's it.  With refueling capabilities, the NRO could simply change the recon sats' orbits to go wherever they needed them to go and let the X-37B refuel them and, conveniently, any other low-orbit military satellites designed to be serviced on-orbit.  If current treaties fail, the X-37B would probably be very useful in similar on-orbit servicing of orbital weapons platforms.
    Seesat-l mailing list

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun May 23 2010 - 13:50:03 UTC