By B.N. Frank
Keeping secrets about space crafts seems to be on the rise. Earlier this year, Loon opposed a public inspection of their experimental license to launch their WiFi-emitting balloons into the sky. Now, the newly formed U.S. Space Force doesn’t want to reveal much about their space shenanigans either.
The mysterious X-37B space plane is set to blast off from a launch site in Florida. Its sixth mission is touted as the most action-packed to date, and the first where the US Space Force would be in charge.
The crew-less vehicle, which strongly resembles a miniature space shuttle – once NASA’s flagship vehicle, retired in 2011 – is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on May 16, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett announced on Wednesday.
The mission will be the sixth such journey for the project, which broke its own record for the longest time in space after wrapping up a 780-day stint in orbit in October.
The new mission will see the X-37B fitted with a service module for the first time in the history of the clandestine project, allowing it to carry additional payloads into orbit. This means more experiments than ever, the Air Force said.
The exact nature of these experiments has been subject to intense speculation over the past years. While the US military did occasionally reveal some information about the experiments and the payloads, the details are still scant and much about the project remains classified.
Shedding some light on the upcoming mission, the USAF said that it would involve a FalconSat-8 satellite with “five experimental payloads” to “conduct several experiments on orbit.” The particulars of these experiments remain murky, as the statement fell short of providing any further details.
Apart from that, two of the mission’s experiments would be devoted to the study of the impact of “radiation and other space effects” on materials and seeds that are used to grow food. In another experiment, scientists will try to turn solar power into “radio frequency microwave energy which could then be transmitted to the ground.”
It will be the first time the project, which began as a NASA-run study into cost-savvy reusable space shuttles and has since turned into a secret military endeavor, will be handled by the US Space Force. The newest branch of the US military and the brainchild of US President Donald Trump would be responsible for the launch, on-orbit operations and landing, the statement said, while the vehicle itself will remain an Air Force asset.
Wow. None of this sounds eco-friendly. No wonder the Space Force want to keep it a secret. The agency is already being heavily scrutinized.
Speaking of scary space crafts – there’s been no shortage of opposition already to Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launching thousands of satellites with millions of antennas to blast 5G and WiFi back down at earth (see 1, 2, 3). No environmental review on that either thanks to the embarrassingly corrupt Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 8. 9). Sigh.
Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives.
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