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Rare image of US Air Force's secretive space plane in orbit / Boing Boing



Astrophotographer Ralf Vandebergh captured an image of the US Air Force's X-37B space plane in orbit. The reusable, uncrewed space vehicle, designated OTV-5, is on a secret testing mission since its launch in September 2017. From Vandebergh's post at Spaceweather.com:

I've been hunting for the OTV-5 since months and saw it visually in May. When I tried to return to it again in June, it did not meet the predicted time and path. It turned out to be maneuvered to another orbit. Thanks to the amateur satellite observers-network, it was very soon in orbit again and I was able to take some pictures on June 30 and July 2. The OTV is a small version of the classic space shuttle, it is really a small object, even at 300 km altitude, so do not expect the real space shuttle. Considering this, the attached images succeeded beyond expectations. We can recognize a bit of the nose, payload Bay and tail of this mini-shuttle with even a smaller detail.

Newtonian telescope with Astrolumina ALccd 5L-11 mono CMOS camera. Tracking what passes manually through a 6×30 finderscope.

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David Pescovitz

David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor. On Instagram, he's @pesco.

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