US Air Force secretary not concerned about air base in Qatar

KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander and pilot Maj. Joe left and co-pilot 1st Lt. Scott fly the aircraft and maintain radio communications throughout their refueling mission

KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft commander and pilot Maj. Joe left and co-pilot 1st Lt. Scott fly the aircraft and maintain radio communications throughout their refueling mission

On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force announced that in August, it'll be launching a reusable X-37B mini-space shuttle on board a Falcon 9 rocket. After picking up a model of the X-37B and showing it to committee members, Wilson said the addition of companies like SpaceX, as well as other launch firms, was expanding the capacity of the military and significantly lowering costs.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson confirmed the August launch during a June 6 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Previously, all four X-37B missions were taken to space by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. "The X-37B will be going up again on top of a SpaceX launcher". The Air Force's X-37B looks like a miniature version of the Space Shuttle.

Similar in shape to vehicles in the space shuttle program, the Boeing-built craft is created to return to Earth after extended orbital research missions. The second mission that lifted off in March of 2011 doubled that time, landing 468 days after launch.

But there's likely more going on here, and one thing is for sure: The X-37B's ability to maneuver while in orbit has geopolitical importance at a time when China and Russian Federation have been demonstrating maneuverable spacecraft that experts say are likely tests of anti-satellite weapons. Since 2010, each of the planes has flown two missions into outer space ranging from 224 to 717 days.

Wilson said there was no threat to removal of the base, and that US operations continued without interruption.

X-37B is a reusable space vehicle that weighs approximately 11,000 pounds, has a wingspan of approximately 15 feet and has revolved around the Earth at an altitude of up to 250 miles.

The upcoming mission will carry the Air Force Research Laboratory Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader to test "experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment", according to Tuesday's Air Force statement.

Although similar to NASA's now retired fleet of shuttles, and has a payload bay like one of the space agency's orbiters, it is automated and carry out missions that have last months and, with the classified spaceplane's last mission - nearly two years (the OTV-4 flight spent approximately 717 days and 20 hours on orbit).

Musk will be shooting the X-37B plane into space using his Falcon 9 rocket, which became the first-ever commercial launch vehicle to reach the International Space Station in 2012.

Recommended News

  • Apple Takes a Stance on Texting and Driving with iOS 11

    The developers beta are already live via official website, for public beta one can sign up now to receive update by June end. Apple claims that the new processor offers 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics than the old A9X chipset.

    Police identify lone gunman behind Philippine casino attack

    The crazed gunman who torched a Philippine casino was a gambling addict wallowing in debt - not a terrorist, police said Sunday. Thirty-seven people died of suffocation due to the thick smoke from the fire that the suspect started.
    Sanders slams Trump for insulting Germany, publicly attacking Merkel

    Sanders slams Trump for insulting Germany, publicly attacking Merkel

    Yet her assertion that Europe has to step up as US ties become "to some extent" less dependable was welcomed at home. The United States has many legitimate grievances with the European Union over trade policy. "It's very easy for us".
  • British police arrest man in London Bridge attack investigation

    Both men were from the Barking neighborhood of east London , where police raids began shortly after the attacks Saturday night. Of the 48 people taken to hospital, 36 are now being cared for in London hospitals with 18 remaining in a critical condition.

    Here are the iPhones and iPads that Won't Run iOS 11

    Apple hasn't provided any updated figures in this regard, but there's a good chance the new Pencil gets very close to that figure. Especially when you consider that it's price is nearly twice that of the Echo's at $349 United States dollars , compared to $180.

    Apple nixes Facebook and Twitter integration from iOS 11

    This year, two phones and one tablet are getting the axe: 2012's iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, and 2013's iPhone 5C. Also, Siri can now perform translations in various languages like English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish.
  • Saudi FM: Qatar measures taken with great pain

    Saudi FM: Qatar measures taken with great pain

    Mauritania has strong military and economic ties to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which led the diplomatic spat with Qatar. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have banned Qatari nationals from entering the countries.
    A Wonder Woman sequel will probably happen, but when?

    A Wonder Woman sequel will probably happen, but when?

    Wonder Woman ends at the end of World War I, which is nearly 100 years before Diana's reappearance in Batman v Superman . Wonder Woman is the first to feature the DC Comics and feminist icon as a main character on the big screen.

    Murray sweeps past Khachanov into French Open quarters

    Next, Murray will face eighth seed Nishikori, who recovered from a disastrous first set to beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco . Murray quickly broke again to seize control and looked comfortable throughout the third set in which he again broke twice.
  • Waynesboro student's national spelling bee run ends before finals

    Waynesboro student's national spelling bee run ends before finals

    Here's some footage from her qualifying rounds; watch as she spells "sasparilla" easily and knocks "Croesus" out of the park, too. VanWynsberghe's first word was "regurgitant" which is defined as characterized by, allowing or being a backward flow.

    Do not disturb while driving feature for iPhone welcomed by Brake

    The biggest announcement of the evening was HomePod , a Siri-Power speakers created to rival Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. Apple's iOS 11 is also expected to add a new feature to its 3D Touch for Safari that will make swap between tabs easier.
    Hawaii Becomes First US State To Legally Support The Paris Climate Agreement

    Hawaii Becomes First US State To Legally Support The Paris Climate Agreement

    Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson said a worldwide plan to address climate change is "simply the right thing to do". So his high-profile meeting Tuesday with California Gov.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.