From Space.com. You can read the full article here.
Just read this. Yes, it’s a second prototype, desginated the X-37B OTV-2 (Orbital Test Vehicle 2).
So now, the question becomes how many of these OTVs does the USAF have, and in what other variations?
UPDATE (2011-MARCH-3): The USAF is planning on again launching the X-37B on a classified mission. An unanswered question is whether this is a re-launch of the same X-37B which flew last year, or a 2nd prototype? If it’s the former, that’s significant for turnaround time.
Prologue: This piece was written and submitted for publication on Dec. 6, 2010, and published on Dec. 15th. On that very same day, Orbital Sciences announced that they were submitting an official proposal to NASA to build an orbital space plane to take up to four people into an orbit capable of delivering them to the International Space Station. This article actually scooped the news by over a week. – Mike
To me, it obviously bore a more-than-passing resemblance to two of NASA’s mothballed experimental space planes: the X-33 and the X-34. This tweaked my memory and provoked some comparisons and guesses.
So far, I think I’m the only one who has ever made the connections expressed in that piece.
Now, an update. Continue reading