Posted : October 2014Author : Jeffrey Rindskopf
It could be a secret space weapon, or it could be a new way to spy on citizens from miles above the Earth’s surface. That all depends on who you ask about the X-37B, a space plane owned by the US military that has been orbiting the Earth for nearly two years as part of its third mission. The plane is set to land later this week at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles north of Los Angeles. After all this time, very little is known about the X-37B, which has only fueled the conspiracy theories on its possibly sinister purpose. But we won’t add fuel to the fire of wild conspiracy theories. Let’s focus on what we do know about this whole business.
The X-37B program has existed since 1999, but has been volleyed around between federal agencies before finding a home in the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office. The X-37B set to land this week, one of two in existence, launched on the back of a rocket fired at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Dec. 11, 2012. The 11,000 pound craft is 9 1/2 feet tall, 19 feet long, with a wingspan under 15 feet, and comes equipped with solar panels that unfurl in orbit to keep it running. Beyond that, the general public doesn’t know much about the space plane, and the Air Force isn’t offering answers anytime soon.. So, let’s add fuel to the fire of conspiracy theories now.
There’s a slew of theories on the X-37B’s purpose, but here’s a sampling of our favorites: it’s being used to capture detailed images from a safe distance that might be helpful to US intelligence like, say, tracking Iran’s nuclear program or the activities of suspected terrorists. Some say it’s to control the satellites of other nations, or simply view them from up close. Our personal favorite, however, is that the X-37B is just an elaborate way to troll the Chinese government into spending massive amounts of cash and manpower to figure out what its purpose is. If true, it’s one hell of a plan - we’ve already spent a ton of time ourselves trying to answer the same thing.