Some really amazing technologies.
Photographed: The Space Shuttle X-37B of the US Air Force.
A Dutch Skywatcher achieved a rare achievement in late June and early July 2019. Ralf Vandebergh photographed the mysterious X-37B spacecraft of the US Air Force in the center of the mission 21
"We can spot a piece of the nose, payload bay, and stern of this mini shuttle, even with a hint of slightly smaller detail," Vandebergh told Space.com.
Vandebergh had spent months looking for the robot spaceship and finally managed to track it down in May 2019, according to Space.com reporter Leonard David. However, it took a few more weeks for the approximately ten-meter long robot shuttle to actually be photographed.
"When I tried to re-watch [in] in mid-June, it did not match the predicted time and path predicted." Vandebergh told David. "It turned out to be in a different orbit and thanks to the Amateur Satellite Observer Network it was quickly put back into orbit and I was able to take some pictures on June 30 and July 2 ."
In the mid-2000s, Boeing built at least two X-37B for the Luftwaffe. The cost was around $ 1 billion apiece. While a miniature version of NASA's Space Shuttle, decommissioned in 2011, the X-37B is essentially a small, reusable and maneuverable satellite with a shorter mission-to-mission lifetime compared to disposable satellites.
The Air Force describes the X-37B as an "orbital test vehicle" or OTV.
The X-37B launched its first mission on a United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket in April 2010. With a ten-year orbit, the X-37B was its fourth mission in early 2018, starting in May 2015. It lasted 717 days.
Read the full article.