H-VANDENBERG AFB

Dec 3, 2010 8:25 PM by Monica Quintero

Speculation surrounds X-37B, the unmanned spacecraft

There's lots of speculation surrounding the purpose of the X-37B. The unmanned spacecraft landed overnight at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The military says the X-37B has been performing classified experiments in space.

It made for an amazing sight. The X-37B launched from Florida back in April. Seven months later, it lands at Vandenberg Air Force Base around 1:15 Friday morning. KSBY News called the Air Force Friday and officials continue to release very little information.

KSBY News also has pictures of the post-landing operations. Base officials say personnel were wearing SCAPE suits, which stands for self-contained atmospheric protective ensemble. They conducted checks on the space vehicle to ensure it was safe after landing.

Here's what people are reading into, the Air Force says the X-37B performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies. What that means exactly has had enthusiasts speculating for months. We found numerous web sites where folks had their own theories.

Some believe the X-37B deploys and maintains spy satellites. Others say it could deploy a new class of weapons capable of reaching any corner of the Earth from the United States in under an hour.

The New York Times also cited Brian Weeden. He's a former Air Force officer now with the Secure World Foundation. Weeden said, "I don't think this has anything to do with weapons but because of the classification and the refusal to talk, the door opens to all of that."

Whether or not the Air Force will release more information in the near future remains to be seen. But until that happens, it seems speculation will continue surrounding the X-37B. Also known as the X-37B, the Boeing-built spacecraft was originally a NASA project before being taken over by the military. The Air Force plans to launch the next one in the spring.

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