News Stories

Secret Missions in Space

A team of amateur astronomers have tracked down the X-37B spacecraft, launched on a 15-month clandestine mission by NASA in April ril from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This unmanned, reusable spacecraft has been developed by the US military. But why is it a secret? In 2010, an identical unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth after 7 months in orbit.

Precise objectives and cost of the program are classified, and some astronomers have speculated that it could be part of a new generation of spy satellites, or a step towards weaponizing space.

In BBC News, Paul Rincon quotes US security expert Joan Johnson-Freese as saying, "It might be at this point in time that (the US Air Force is) going to roll the dice and see if something good happens (with the project's space experiments). If it does, they'll continue with it. Otherwise, this will be another one of those (experimental) projects that goes into a bin somewhere."

Could the "something good" she refers to have anything to do with Iran?

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