“At one time, [the X-37] was going to replace the Space Shuttle,” said Bruce Gagnon, director of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. The replacement plan was scrapped, however. In 2004 NASA handed over the X-37 to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the Phantom Works at Boeing, the major aerospace player racing to develop space weapons and missile defense systems with millions of taxpayer dollars.
The X-37 officially is a US Military Space Place
A space vehicle that can repair, deploy and even attack satellites, or insert reconnaissance drones back into the atmosphere – all within hours of orders – is also desired. As one NASA official put it, the space plane will “be the key to opening and conquering the space frontier.”
To those trying to keep weapons out of space, such as Gagnon and his Global Network, the orbiting X-37 is a set-back. “I would say it is one of the first (space weapons) to be deployed, so yes the X-37 is now operating in space and should be defined as a space-based weapon,” says Gagnon. “The Pentagon though will claim it is not permanently stationed in space and thus falls outside the Outer Space Treaty – which is why we are strong advocates for a new comprehensive treaty to ban all weapons in space.”
The fear of an American space bomber, say experts, has one significant and severe backlash: other nations will develop their own space bombers or space weapons to counter any US MSP.
“There are scores of Chinese articles over the last two years that mention a
Early in the Bush administration, and especially after 9/11, the Pentagon was making overtures that it desperately needed the ultimate quick-strike weapon when US forces, aircraft carriers, and even drones, are far from the target. Soon enough, the Pentagon was salivating over the prospects of acquiring a bomber that could take out a target within two hours of getting eyes-on-the-target intelligence. Katz-Hyman says the space bomber’s research is driven by the Pentagon’s desire to carry out this “rapid global strike”. Currently, long-range bomber runs using stealth bombers or B-52s take 12 to 24 hours to execute. Their effectiveness also depends whether certain nations will allow the
The X-37 was born from a unique, stand-alone secretive
One X-series brother of the X-37 is the X-43. Just 12-feet long, the X-43 is a scramjet or Supersonic Combustion Ramjet; its engine is designed to take oxygen from the atmosphere instead of from a huge and cumbersome liquid oxygen tank on board, like all rockets must do. In November of 2004 the X-43 broke the world record for a jet-powered aircraft by reaching Mach 9.6, or about 7,000 mph.
One of the X-series most classified descendents is the spy-plane the Aurora, which unlike the X-37, is manned. Conspiracy theorists believe the “black aircraft” – researched under the Pentagon’s black or secret budget – has been tearing through the skies since the 1970s. The Pentagon let it slip the classified
Experts claim that billions have been spent on the Aurora, an aircraft that theorists stress must be hypersonic (fly between Mach 5 to Mach 20) due to all the secrecy. Speculation says the
Like the X-37 and the
“I call Obama the magician, you have to watch both his hands to understand what he is doing,” he said. “On the one hand he talks nice, says good things at times, but he is proving to be the classic politician who says one thing and does another. Obama is clearly comfortable carrying water for the weapons industry which is probably why the military industrial complex gave him more campaign donations than they gave john McCain. Obama is doing virtually nothing to reverse the militarization, weaponization, and nuclearization of space.”
John Lasker is a freelance journalist from
A new space weapons documentary with interviews from Bruce Gagnon can be viewed here.
Photo from US Air Force